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Mbonambi cleared for the WC finale, its ‘do or die’ against NZ

THE World Rugby has dropped investigations into alleged discriminatory language by South African Bongi Mbonambi, Boks hooker.

A relief for Boks and entire SA, following an alleged racial used by Mbonambi towards England’s Tom Curry, in last weeks game, of which SA won.

As reported in previous coverage, I did indicate with or without Mbonambi, the team is ready to face New Zealand in the finals. And guess what, he’s included in the final XV.

These dirty tactics and referees showing signs of ineptness will not deter our boys, instead they’re instilling the raging-bull out of them.

So, NZ beware the ides of march on Saturday, you’re warned…Yes, we’re wounded by such allegations and the only way to deal with them, is on the pitch.

Following a frustrating, week long investigations, the governing body came to their senses and released a full statement: “World Rugby has undertaken a review of allegations made by England’s Tom Curry in relation to the use of discriminatory language by South Africa’s Mbongeni Mbonambi.”

“World Rugby has undertaken a review of allegations made by England’s Tom Curry in relation to the use of discriminatory language by South Africa’s Mbongeni Mbonambi during the England versus South Africa Rugby World Cup 2023 semi-final on Saturday along with a further allegation brought forward in recent days about a previous match in the Autumn Nations Series 2022.”

“Any allegation of discrimination is taken extremely seriously by World Rugby, warranting a thorough investigation. Having considered all the available evidence, including match footage, audio and evidence from both teams, the governing body has determined that there is insufficient evidence at this time to proceed with charges. Therefore, the matter is deemed closed unless additional evidence comes to light.”
 
“It is important to note that World Rugby accepts that Tom Curry made the allegations in good faith, and that there is no suggestion that the allegation was deliberately false or malicious.”
 
“World Rugby is also concerned by the social media abuse that both players have been subjected to this week. There is no place in rugby or society for discrimination, abuse or hate speech, and World Rugby urges fans to embrace the sport’s values of respect, integrity and solidarity.”

Meanwhile, coach Jacques Nienaber and his technical director Rassie Erasmus have named a strong squad to face NZ on Saturday, for the finals at Stade de France.

15 – Damian Willemse

14 – Kurt-Lee Arendse

13 – Jesse Kriel

12 – Damian de Allende

11 – Cheslin Kolbe

10 – Handré Pollard

9 – Faf de Klerk

8 – Duane Vermeulen

7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit

6 – Siya Kolisi

5 – Franco Mostert

4 – Eben Etzebeth

3 – Frans Malherbe

2 – Bongi Mbonambi

1 – Steven Kitshoff

Replacements

16 – Deon Fourie

17 – Ox Nche

18 – Trevor Nyakane

19 – Jean Kleyn

20 – RG Snyman

21 – Kwagga Smith

22 – Jasper Wiese

23 – Willie le Roux

“This is an experienced team with several players who played in the last Rugby World Cup final and who know exactly what to expect at Stade de France on Saturday and what it will take to retain the title,” said Nienaber.

“The players who will be playing in their first World Cup final have also proven their worth as warriors throughout this campaign and they are all ready for this massive occasion.

“We have said many times that we pick teams for varying gameplans depending on the opponent and that we use all 23 players to try and achieve those goals.

“We’ve gone from a five-three bench split to a seven-one split to give us the best chance of being successful. We have plans in place to mitigate for injuries in the backline, but we’re excited about our plan and we embrace the risk.”

Nienaber thanked the non-playing members of the squad for their contribution to a season-long campaign which has seen the coaches manage the load and develop combinations among 42 players in 12 matches.

“This a huge day for the entire squad – and the guys who played for us earlier in the season,” he said.

“As a coaching team we are proud of the contribution that every player in the larger squad made in getting us to the final to create this opportunity.

“We know we are in for a colossal battle. Every point and inch will count in this match and we know it will take another top-class effort to come out on top on Saturday.”

Who knows after ascending to the stage to receive Boks fourth gold medal and the Webb Ellis Cup, Pres Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, might be convinced to declare a national holiday?

The game kicks-off at 9pm.

To add cherry on top of a cake- it has also been confirmed Nienaber, centurion lock Eben Etzebeth and flyhalf Manie Libbok are among a top-class list of nominees for the 2023 World Rugby Awards, which will be presented at the Opéra Garnier in Paris on Sunday, 29 October – a day after Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final at the Stade de France.

Image (Bruised but undeterred. Boks Hooker Bongi Mbonambi returns to the starting XV to face NZ in the finals, after the lifting of investigations into alleged racial slur by the governing body).

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