Mo'unga, Bridge named in Cape Town abuse incidents

Richie Mo'unga during the Super Rugby match between the Bulls and the Crusaders in Pretoria

Richie Mo'unga during the Super Rugby match between the Bulls and the Crusaders in Pretoria

The allegations from Cape Town arose after some Crusaders visited a McDonald's outlet in Long St, a well-known entertainment precinct in the city, after their 19-19 draw with the Stormers at Newlands. All will be available to play the Blues in Christchurch on Saturday night.

The Crusaders have strongly denied allegations some of their players exhibited "homophobic behaviour" during an altercation with members of the public at a McDonald's restaurant in Cape Town. "We are reaching out to the individuals who have made these allegations and urging them to formally lodge their complaints with the Independent Complaints Management Service, which is run by highly regarded lawyer Steph Dyhrberg".

The allegations come only two days after Israel Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia for a homophobic tweet sent in April.

Mansbridge added: "A lot of the social media comment has been about sweeping things under the carpet and that sort of thing". The patrons' accounts of the event have circulated on social media and has caused a widespread furore.

NZR Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass today confirmed that enquiries started as soon as staff were alerted by Crusaders management.

The three Crusaders players embroiled in the restaurant incident "strongly refuted" allegations of homophobia, the team said on Monday, while coach Scott Robertson played it down as a misunderstanding over a "selfie".

'That is what makes these allegations particularly distressing'.

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Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge has also revealed he did not believe alcohol was involved in the alleged incident on Sunday morning (NZT), unlike the alleged incident involving All Black Richie Mo'unga, which took place in Pretoria the previous week. A screenshot in the RNZ story of an Instagram exchange seems to indicates Mo'unga replied and apologised. "In the apology he said "intoxicated" and that he doesn't remember the incident".

"It is this guy because he has the exact same haircut, anyone can tell me yes it was dark, no I will never forget that face, I will never forget that face", she said. "We'd like Steph Dyhrberg to have a look into that and get to the bottom of it".

But with witnesses coming forward to criticise the players on local radio, New Zealand Rugby said it had launched a probe.

Some of the Crusaders' social media accounts have been made private following their trip home and Mansbridge said there was probably a simple explanation for that.

The Crusaders will consider reviewing their protocol regarding post-match drinking and curfews after the investigation is completed, Mansbridge admitted.

"Whenever something happens you always have to stop and say "right, what could we do better and differently" and absolutely we'll be sitting down and thinking about that...", Mansbridge said.

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