Crusaders flyhalf Richie Mo’unga has apologised to a Cape Town woman for spitting beer on her and “pinching her bum” at a Bree Street bar more than a week ago.
The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, told Radio New Zealand on Tuesday that Mo’unga and his group looked “like New Zealanders… either All Blacks or something” at Arcade in Bree Street on Saturday 11 May, a day after the Crusaders had beaten the Bulls in Pretoria.
They then drew 19-19 with the Stormers in Cape Town last weekend.
“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.
“And then (later), 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.”
After the woman recognised him on the internet, she contacted Mo’unga on Instagram, and he apologised.
“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,” read Mo’unga’s message.
Alongside NZ Rugby we are jointly reviewing allegations about player behaviour in South Africa. We are distraught about the accusations but because of their serious nature we are formalising the investigation to allow both sides to be heard - https://t.co/f24oj5pFXe— BNZ Crusaders (@crusadersrugby) May 21, 2019
The reporting of the incident comes soon after George Bridge and some of his teammates were accused of making homophobic slurs at Alexandros Paterimos and his friends at a McDonald’s in Kloof Street following the Stormers match.
Paterimos said on Instagram on Tuesday that he was still awaiting footage of the incident from McDonald’s, although the Crusaders have stated that Bridge and his teammates have denied making homophobic comments.
Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge addressed the New Zealand media in Christchurch on Tuesday, where he said that a lawyer, Steph Dyhrberg, will conduct an investigation into both incidents.
“At the moment, we’re in a bit of a he said, she said situation and it’s difficult to uncover what actually happened,” Mansbridge was quoted as saying by the stuff.co.nz website.
“One of the challenges we’ve got here is a lot of these complaints have been made on social media and via (media). We haven’t received a formal complaint.
“We’ve reached out to one of the complainants and got something back, which wasn’t really a complaint. We’re going to invite them to complain directly to Steph Dyhrberg.
“In the (Mo’unga) apology, he says intoxication and he says he doesn’t remember the incident. It’s easy to make the link, we’d like Steph Dyhrberg to have a look into that and get right to the bottom of it.
“What Steph will do, she will finish her investigation and then make some recommendations about what she has found to New Zealand Rugby and the Crusaders. If they were found to be true, it’s potentially a disciplinary matter.”
But all the players involved are still available for selection for the Crusaders’ next Super Rugby match against the Blues in Christchurch on Saturday.@ashfakmohamed