New Zealand Rugby and Crusaders investigate Cape Town incidents
Last Updated: 21/05/19 9:00am
New Zealand Rugby and the Crusaders have opened investigations into two allegations of inappropriate player behaviour in South Africa last weekend.
One involves allegations of homophobic behaviour and the other reports of a player spitting beer over patrons at a bar.
New Zealand internationals Richie Mo'unga and George Bridge are among the players under investigation.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson confirmed Bridge was among a group who are accused of making homophobic comments and gestures towards a group of men at a Cape Town fast food outlet.
Fly-half Mo'unga was later accused of spitting beer over patrons at a bar and pinching a woman in Cape Town. The woman reportedly contacted Mo'unga later via Instagram to complain about his behaviour. Radio New Zealand reported Mo'unga apologised via his social media account.
New Zealand Rugby spokesman Nigel Cass on Tuesday said a joint inquiry had been launched.
"The allegations that have been made about players in two different incidences are very serious," Cass said. "These allegations are about abuse, inappropriate and offensive behaviour and we do not tolerate this.
"We have very strong values of respect, inclusion and tolerance in rugby. There is no place for the type of behaviour that has been described."
Robertson, speaking to reporters on the team's return to New Zealand, said the allegations of homophobic behaviour had arisen because of a "misinterpretation".
He said Bridge is "really upset around everything that's come out. He's extremely, authentically genuine that there was nothing ever said."
Robertson said Bridge had asked to have a photograph taken with one of the men involved in the incident.
"There was no interaction with anyone else," Robertson said. "That's where the misinterpretation came... a selfie gone wrong really.
"No homophobic words or gestures were used."
New Zealand Rugby and the Crusaders said the players involved rejected descriptions of the incidents.
"Because the nature of these allegations is serious, it is important that we carefully look at these claims without prejudice or assumptions," Cass said. "We are reaching out to the individuals who have made these allegations and urging them to formally lodge their complaints."