The South African Government has raised eyebrows with its response to the Tom Curry racism controversy, as it congratulated the Springboks on securing their fourth World Cup victory with a cheeky proclamation: “The Webb Ellis [Cup] has made its way to South Africa’s ‘kant’!”
In the wake of a World Rugby investigation that ultimately found “insufficient evidence” to pursue disciplinary action against South Africa’s Bongi Mbonambi, following Curry’s allegations of racial abuse during England’s semi-final defeat, the situation has taken an intriguing turn.
Fans of the Springboks have passionately asserted that Curry may have misunderstood Mbonambi, who reportedly used the term “wit kant,” which translates to “white side” in Afrikaans.
Notably, video footage captured the Springboks using the phrase “watter kant” (“which side”) during a training session leading up to the final. Additionally, their players were frequently heard using the term during the final match against New Zealand via the referee’s microphone.
On Sunday, the South African Government appeared to embrace the playful spirit, concluding an official statement on the Springboks’ victory by saying: “The government also extends its appreciation to all South Africans for their unwavering support throughout the nail-biting matches. The Webb Ellis [Cup] has unmistakably found its home in South Africa’s camp!”
Day jobs of the 2023 Rugby World Cup referee’s:
#1. Ben O’Keeffe
Nationality: New Zealand
Occupation: Eye Doctor
One of New Zealand’s six full-time referees, O’Keeffe is also a qualified doctor specialising in ophthalmology, which deals with eye health and disease.
Ben O’Keeffe facts:
O’Keeffe became an amateur referee for the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) in 2013 having started officiating in 2008 at the age of 19
He grew up in Blenheim, New Zealand and attended Marlborough Boys’ College where he was head boy in 2006.
O’Keeffe’s brother, Michael O’Keeffe, represented New Zealand at the 2012 London Olympics in football
Ben O’Keeffe toughest player to referee: Ma’a Nonu
O’Keeffe said: “I think like Ma’a Nonu, yeah he was pretty tough. I’ve noticed over the last few years that players are just a lot bigger, a lot faster and a lot stronger.
“I trained with the Highlanders pre-season one year and you get a real appreciation of how big, fit and hard they hit. That just remind me why I just I love refereeing – so I don’t have to take those big hits.”