Bongi Mbonambi speaks to referee Aimee Barrett-Theron. Photo: X

Bongi Mbonambi speaks to referee Aimee Barrett-Theron. Photo: X

Mbonambi: I respect officials, apologised to Aimee Barrett-Theron

Bongi Mbonambi has issued a statement and apology after being criticised for his engagement with referee Aimee Barrett-Theron.

Bongi Mbonambi speaks to referee Aimee Barrett-Theron. Photo: X

Bongi Mbonambi speaks to referee Aimee Barrett-Theron. Photo: X

Note: *This is an updated article on Bongi Mbonambi and his interaction with Aimee Barrett-Theron

It’s been a challenging season for the Sharks, and for Sharks captain Bongi Mbonambi, frustration clearly boiled over a couple of times in his interactions with referee Aimee Barrett-Theron during this past Saturday’s defeat to the Lions.

Theron had to take the Springboks aside at one point in order to ask for him to show her more respect, and many onlookers picked up on this, while levelling criticism at the way he handled the referee on more than one occasion.

Bongi Mbonambi has now apologised in a statement released by the Sharks, which touched on his interaction with Aimee Barrett-Theron

In one notable moment just before half-time, Theron had to pull Mbonambi aside for a heartfelt message.

“Bongi, can you walk with me please, this way,” she could be heard saying just before half-time when the Sharks had a possible try disallowed.

“Bongi may I speak please, listen I fully respect you and who you are and I am well aware that all of your players have probably played more games than I have refereed in the URC.

“But we are on the same field so if you could show me the same respect that I show you, that would be very much appreciated.”

Responding, Mbonambi said, “They are looking to me for answers so was it foul play?” to which Barrett-Theron replied, “Yes that was foul play.”

You can see the tense exchange below:

URC struggles for the Sharks

When it came to the on-field action, the Lions outplayed the Sharks 40-10 in Johannesburg in the first South African derby, while the Bulls finally swayed their fortunes against the Stormers as they defeated the Capetonians 40-22 in Pretoria.

These results saw the Bulls leap to second place on the log (on 40 points) behind Leinster (who are on 44 points) and the Lions wrap off the round in 11th position (29 points) – trailing the eighth-placed Benetton by only three points.

The Stormers, meanwhile, dropped to ninth place on the standings on 30 points, while the Sharks remain at the foot of the log with only one win in 11 matches.

To compound matters for the Capetonians, they relinquished their spot at the top of the SA Shield standings to the Bulls, who are now three points ahead in the race to the local silverware.