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.
The nine-time Super Rugby champions released a statement on Monday saying they would still investigate the claims once the team returned home to Christchurch, after the allegations were made via social media.
The alleged incident came after the Crusaders had rounded out their two-week tour of South Africa with a 19-all draw against the Stormers earlier on Saturday night.
“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,” an official Crusaders statement read. “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.”
Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge added: “This is an organisation that is committed to inclusivity and is proud to have earned the Rainbow Tick certification. That is what makes these allegations particularly distressing.
“Given the serious nature of these allegations I will be meeting with the team management and players on their return to Christchurch, however I am confident in the account that we have received from the team and the security advisor who was present.”
The allegations come while rugby union continues to deal with Israel Folau saga.