England have until Monday to report alleged racial slur aimed at Tom Curry

England have until Monday morning to lodge a complaint after Tom Curry alleged he was the victim of a racist slur in Saturday’s 16-15 World Cup semi-final defeat by South Africa.

Curry drew the incident involving hooker Mbongeni Mbonambi to the attention of referee Ben O’Keeffe around the half-hour mark of the match at the Stade de France.

Although the alleged slur is not audible on the ref link, Curry’s subsequent conversation with O’Keeffe is.

“Sir, if their hooker calls me a white c***, what do I do?” the Sale flanker said.

Referee Ben O'Keeffe speaks with England’s Owen Farrell
Referee Ben O’Keeffe speaks with England’s Owen Farrell (Adam Davy/PA)

O’Keeffe replied: “Nothing, please. I’ll be on it.”

When asked after the match if Mbonambi had said something he should not have done, Curry replied “yeah”, although he declined to reveal what was said.

Mbonambi refused to shake Curry’s hand at the end of a dramatic clash in Paris that was won by Handre Pollard’s penalty after 78 minutes.

World Rugby confirmed there is a 36-hour window from when the game ends for England to lodge a complaint to the citing officer, giving them until 10am BST on Monday to act.

The sport’s global governing body can also choose to pursue the matter, with any case likely to be brought under the ‘bringing the game into disrepute’ banner.

Also, if the citing officer finds any evidence of the alleged racist remark he can trigger disciplinary proceedings against Mbonambi with an offence such as this likely to contravene law 9.12 – a player must not verbally abuse anyone.

South Africa forwards coach Deon Davids was asked about the incident at his side’s media briefing on Sunday morning.

“I’m not aware of that. I’m not aware of any comment. If it was discussed, I’m not sure what the comment was or when it was said. I don’t know,” Davids said.

England led for all but five minutes of the semi-final and were nine points ahead until RG Snyman went over in the 70th minute at a time when the Springboks’ scrum was taking control through the introduction of the ‘Bomb Squad’.

Jonny May said England’s heroic effort against the world champions was fuelled by the belief that they had dismissed as a serious threat by South Africa.

“I’ll be honest I don’t think necessarily the South Africans respect us,” May said.

“Some of the things their coach has openly said about us in their documentaries and stuff probably just adds fuel to the fire.

“We touched on their documentary and we’ve got staff who were with them and they gave us insight of how they feel about us.”