Fresh allegations: Crusaders player accused of inappropriate touching

Richie Mo'unga. Photo Getty
Richie Mo'unga. Photo Getty
A Cape Town woman is alleging that Crusaders player Richie Mo'unga spat beer and her and her friends before inappropriately touching her at a bar last Saturday.

The fresh allegations come as members of the rugby team are accused by other Cape Town locals of threatening and homophobic behaviour following their Super Rugby game on Saturday night.

On Saturday 11 May, the woman and her friends were at Arcade bar in Cape Town when she said the incident took place.

"We got there and we noticed, I was actually telling my friends, these guys they look like New Zealanders, they look like either All Blacks or something.

"My friends and I were just standing, talking and then we just had... a lot of beer being spat at us and we looked and then my friend and I were shocked at what was happening, I told the guy 'look here, that's not okay, you don't do that' and he just flat out ignored us and walked away, he looked at us with a dead stare and just walked away."

A friend of the player who spat at the group came over and the woman told him what the player had done was not okay.

"He says, 'no, we're sorry, it won't happen again'."

She said she and her group of friends continued to dance.

"And then I noticed the guy behind me, and then he like pinched me on my bum and then as I was going to retaliate, my friend was like 'no don't, it's not worth it', leaving him and he just also had that like dead look on his face, he had no reaction...carried on partying, everything."

The group left Arcade early because the woman said, "we were over it".

"They clearly had no respect for anyone at that place, normally Arcade's the place where we go to unwind and have fun with one another, but that was the worst experience so far."

It was the following day, while looking at an interview with the Sport Science Institute of South Africa, that she realised who the man at the bar the night before was Crusaders player Richie Mo'unga.

"I noticed this guy look really familiar, because it was an interview, and I told my friends 'look... this guy's from Arcade'."

Her friend agreed it was the man from the bar the night before.

"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."

The woman messaged Mo'unga via Instagram to call him out for spitting on her and her friends.

A screenshot of a message exchange on Instagram suggests Mo'unga replied and apologised to the woman, saying he should have gone home long before this happened.

"I'm really sorry for that I'm not aware that I did that. Obviously was intoxicated and should've gone home long before that stage, I'm sorry to you and your friends and want to assure you I don't condone that behaviour and am sorry about that."

The woman says it was the worst experience she's had and she will never forget Mo'unga's face.

"I've never been in such a position, I've never been violated, so for me it's a first and I don't know what to do."

She said she decided to speak out after hearing allegations from other Cape Town residents about the team.

"I'm not letting this slide because you can do this to me now and I let it slide, he goes to New Zealand and does something way worse...I just want to present it while I have a chance to."

The woman said she is trying to get security footage from the bar.

She also emailed the Crusaders management team but has not yet heard back from them, she says.

"I just feel like something needs to be done because, like I said, this is something small thing, it might be miniscule thing but then he does it again and he's drunk and he does it again and it's something way worse and that person maybe actually commits suicide or does something way worse than what I did, and then it's another story.

"We always say 'cut the bad while you can'."

George Bridge of the Crusaders at training before the match against the Stormers. Photo: Getty Images
George Bridge of the Crusaders at training before the match against the Stormers. Photo: Getty Images

Coach names player involved in 'homophobic incident'

Meanwhile, Crusaders managers will meet players today to discuss allegations of homophobic behaviour alleged by another man in Cape Town.

All Black George Bridge has been confirmed as one of the players at the centre of an alleged homophobic incident in South Africa.

Customers at a McDonald's restaurant on Long Street in the Cape Town CBD claim they were the subject of homophobic slurs by members of the Crusaders shortly after the Super Rugby match against the Stormers but have not yet produced hard evidence.

As many as three Crusaders players were accused on Instagram by Cape Town man Alexandros Paterimos of "physically intimidating" behaviour, however, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson claims only one player, All Black George Bridge, was involved, denying that anything "untoward" happened.

"George who I've talked a lot about, he engaged with him ... he's really upset around everything that's come out, he's extremely, authentically genuine that there was nothing ever said," Robertson said.

"George said 'mate I just want to have a photo with you' ... there was no interaction with anyone else. That's where the misinterpretation came. A selfie gone wrong really.

"He just can't understand how it's got to this platform."

The Crusaders strongly refuted the 'socialised account' of events in a statement released yesterday.

"Allegations have been made via social media that there was a verbal altercation between members of the public and some Crusaders players who were out getting food after the match against the Stormers in Cape Town. The original post claimed players exhibited homophobic behaviour.

"The three players, team management and the South African-based security advisor with them, strongly refute the socialised account of what happened. They are devastated by the allegation and the implication of homophobic behaviour."

Robertson further downplayed the interaction saying "no homophobic words or gestures were used".

"The boys really refute all the allegations," Robertson said. "Nothing was ever said."

Paterimos has since threatened to release security footage of the incident, posting his exchange with Crusaders management on Instagram.

"We understand that you may have your reservations against us as the men are most likely lying to you about what happened, however we will prove that we are not lying as we are getting surveillance footage from the McDonald's (as we weren't able to yesterday)," Paterimos wrote to the Crusaders management and then shared to his Instagram story.

"After we get that back, then you will see that we deserve an apology and some action against this homophobic behaviour. Telling us that we are lying is EXTREMELY offensive and we will not stand for that."

 - reporting by RNZ and NZME.

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