Bongi Mbonambi played the entire 80 minutes against England, making him the only remaining senior in the South African squad
|Venue: Stade de France, Paris Events: Saturday, October 28th Begin: 20:00 BST|
|Cover: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.|
South African hooker Bongi Mbonambi will start Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand after it was decided there was “insufficient evidence” to suggest he racially abused Tom Curry.
England flanker Curry said he was manhandled in the Springboks’ 16-15 semi-final win last Saturday.
World Rugby’s governing body said the case was “closed unless further evidence comes to light”.
England are “deeply disappointed” at the decision not to attack Mbonambi.
South Africa will face the All Blacks in the showpiece event in France from 8pm BST on Saturday.
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) said Curry had told investigations that he was ill-treated by Mbonambi during England’s game against South Africa last November.
It also said World Rugby’s decision not to present the evidence to an independent disciplinary panel “denies the opportunity” to hear Curry’s report.
The flanker was lambasted online for reporting the incident, which England captain Owen Farrell described as “unacceptable”.
An RFU statement said: “In their continued full support for Tom, the RFU and the England team condemn the vile abuse he and his family have received on social media because he had the courage to engage in unacceptable behavior “to lay.” no place in society or on the rugby field, in the public eye.
“Abuse of any kind is unacceptable and goes against the core values of rugby.”
“It is important that it is safe and acceptable for everyone involved in rugby union to raise concerns and the RFU continues to encourage everyone to report unacceptable behavior in the game.”
World Rugby said it was “concerned” about the online abuse suffered by both players.
“It is important to note that World Rugby accepts that Tom Curry made the allegations in good faith and that there is no indication that the allegations were intentionally false or malicious,” it said in a statement.
Springboks captain Siya Kolisi says he has reached out to Curry and hopes the abuse stops.
“I talked to him, I sent him a message,” Kolisi said.
“He is someone I respect. As players we can cope with that. When it’s about one person, that’s fine, but when families are involved, it’s different.”
“I let him know we support him and are thinking about him.”
Nienaber brings back De Klerk and Pollard
Head coach Jacques Nienaber has named the most experienced South African team ever to face the All Blacks in Paris on Saturday.
Nienaber makes two changes to the XV that started the semi-final win over England: central defenders Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard replace Cobus Reinach and Manie Libbok.
Fly-half Pollard came on as a surprise substitute for Libbok after just 31 minutes of the semi-final and scored a late, game-winning penalty.
Both Reinach and Libbok are completely out of the matchday squad, with Nienaber opting for a 7-1 split between strikers and defenders on the bench. Willie le Roux is the only substitute.
This is the second time South Africa have attempted a 7-1 victory at the tournament, following their 13-8 defeat by Ireland in the group stage.
Joining the bench are lock Jean Kleyn, who represented Ireland at the 2019 World Cup before switching allegiances as part of World Rugby’s birthright change rule, and number eight Jasper Wiese.
Both players are not yet in the knockout stages as South Africa played France and England with the same 23 players.
New Zealand and South Africa are aiming to become the first nations to win the World Cup for the fourth time.
South Africa: Willemse; Arendse, Kriel, De Allende, Kolbe; Pollard, De Klerk; Kitshoff, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi (captain), Du Toit, Vermeulen.
Substitute: Fourie, Nche, Nyakane, Kleyn, Snyman, Smith, Wiese, Le Roux.
Source : www.bbc.co.uk