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Rugby News: 'Be courageous' - Eddie's come and get me plea to Japan, Bongi's dig at 'sad' reaction from 'first world country'

7th November, 2023
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7th November, 2023
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Eddie Jones has confirmed for the first time that he would almost certainly accept an offer to Japan if one is received – and called on the country to be “courageous” in their decision.

Jones maintained to Kyodo News in Japan that he has received no offer nor had an interview so far but indicated he would take the job if they want him.

“I’ve had no offer, let’s be clear,” Jones said. “If they (Japan) came to me and said, are you interested in coaching them, I’d definitely be interested.”

Japan is looking to replace Jamie Joseph. South African Frans Ludeke is said to be the front runner, with Japan thought to be concerned about Jones’ propensity to make himself, and not his team, the centre of attention.

Jones has repeatedly rejected reports that he has already interviewed for the job with a succession of weasel words.

He has gone on a sustained media blitz since returning from the World Cup, with podcast appearances and almost daily exclusive interviews with media in Australia, the UK and now Japan.

Jones told Kyodo rugby in Japan “has always been like my passion”.

“Japan can’t stay where they are because if they stay where they are, they’ll actually start to slide. So they’ve got to make a big push now,” Jones said.

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“You’re going to have to be courageous, and you’re going to have to do things differently. You can’t just go along and do what you’re doing now. So that’s the reason I would be interested.”

Bongi breaks his silence

Springboks prop Bongi Mbonambi has spoken for the first time about the racism allegations directed at him at the World Cup and called out England for being “unprofessional”.

England flanker Tom Curry accused Mbonambi of a racial slur during the Springboks’ 16-15 semi-final win on Pairs.

The South Africans claimed Curry misheard a direction in Afrikaans, although the player suggested to referee Ben O’Keeffe that he’d been called a “white c—” but the Springboks powerhouse. There were subsequent allegations that Mbonambi had also abused Curry in a match last year.

Springboks players after the national anthem

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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World Rugby reviewed video and audio footage and submissions from both teams before clearing Mbonambi to play in the final against New Zealand, ruling there was “insufficient evidence” that he had used the alleged term.

World Rugby also expressed concern at the online abuse both players suffered.

“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’s statement read.

Mbonambi maintained his silennce on the incident at the World Cup but addressed the incident in an interview with BBC Sport Africa.

“I think it is a very sad thing when you live in a first world country [England], you think the rest of the world speaks English,” Mbonambi said..

“It was unprofessional on their part. They could have gone on a website and looked for an English dictionary and looked for the word in Afrikaans.

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“People understood [in South Africa] but obviously their side was misunderstood.”

England’s Tom Curry speaks to referee Ben O’Keeffe. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

England were upset and claimed they failed to receive a fair hearing.

“I’m glad it was well taken care of [by World Rugby] and that is all in the past now,” Mbonambi said.

“But I have never racially swore at him.”

Mbonami was injured in the opening minutes of the win over New Zealand, leaving Dean Fourie to play the key role.

“It didn’t feel good at all,” Mbonambi said.

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“As soon as it happened, I knew it was something wrong. But all credit to Fourie because he played his part.

“It was a tough position to be in and I believe he took it upon himself because he knew what he had to do. But it wasn’t easy.

“We knew that it wasn’t only one guy on the field but 14 other players who [had] got his back, and he knows that. That is how we work at the Springboks.”

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