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25th Oct 2023

South Africa’s Jean Kleyn defends “family man” Bongi Mbonambi amid racism allegations

Ryan Grace

Jean Kleyn

“He is a good individual… an upstanding guy”

South Africa and Munster lock Jean Kleyn has shared some kind words about his Springboks teammate Bongi Mbonambi ahead of the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand at the Stade de France this weekend.

It’s after England flanker Tom Curry accused Mbonambi of screaming ‘white c***’ in his direction, during the second half of their narrow World Cup semi-final loss to the Springboks on Sunday.

Curry was picked up on the he ref mic audio of Ben O’Keeffe in the 28th minute of the match asking “Sir, sir, if their hooker calls me a white c*** what do I do?”

Jean Kleyn was put up for media duty on Tuesday ahead of the weekend’s final where he appeared to defend Mbonambi. He said “Bongi is a great guy. He has captained the Springboks a few times now. I don’t think there’s a fella in the squad who doesn’t like him.”


Jean KleynJean Kleyn of South Africa during the Rugby World Cup 2023 (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Support pours in for Curry following incident

On Wednesday, Tom Curry’s club Sale Sharks released a statement saying they are absolutely appalled by the nature and level of disgusting abuse directed at Tom Curry. The statement goes on to say the club stands behind the flanker, and are looking forward to welcoming him back to Carrington.

England attack coach Richard Wigglesworth says Curry is getting “every bit of support that he needs” ahead of his 50th appearance for England in the Bronze final against Argentina in Paris on Friday.

World Rugby opened an official investigation into the incident on Tuesday after receiving an official complaint from the Rugby Football Union. Bill Sweeney, Chief Executive of the RFU, has referred to the incident as a “live legal case.”


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