'Crusaders player spat beer at me then pinched my bum,' says Cape Town woman
Allegations of homophobic behaviour by Crusaders players in Cape Town have been followed by a woman’s claim that one of the New Zealand rugby team’s stars spat beer at her and touched her inappropriately.
The Cape Town woman, who asked that her identity be withheld, said All Blacks fullback Richie Mo’unga was with a group of players when the incident happened at Arcade in Bree Street on Saturday night.
She said she challenged Mo’unga on social media about what had happened and he sent her an apology that said: “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.”
New Zealand Rugby has launched an investigation of the Arcade allegations, as well as earlier claims of homophobic behaviour against up to three Crusaders players at McDonald’s in Long Street after the team's 19-19 draw with the Stormers at Newlands.
“The allegations that have been made about players, in two different incidents, are very serious,” said New Zealand Rugby’s chief rugby officer Nigel Cass.
“These allegations are about abuse, inappropriate and offensive behaviour, and we do not tolerate this,” he said on Tuesday after the Crusaders arrived home in Christchurch.
“At the same time, the players are refuting the details of the claims made. Because the nature of these allegations is serious, it is important that we carefully look at these claims without prejudice or assumptions.”
Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said the players involved were “distraught”. He added: “Clearly the right thing to do is to formalise the investigation into these matters, which would allow both sides to be heard.”
The woman who reported the Arcade incident said she and her friends remarked that a group of men in the bar “look like New Zealanders, they look like either All Blacks or something”.
She said: “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 allegedly spat on the group apologised to the woman and her friends, and they continued dancing.
“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, leave him’, and he just also had that like dead look on his face, he had no reaction … carried on partying, everything.”
The group then decided to leave the bar.
“Normally Arcade’s the place where we go to unwind and have fun with one another, but that was the worst experience so far," said the woman.
On Sunday, after seeing an interview with the Sport Science Institute of SA, the woman said she realised the man at the bar was Mo’unga.
“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 on Instagram and received his apology. But she told Radio New Zealand: “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 about the McDonald’s incident.
“I just feel like something needs to be done because, like I said, this is a small thing, it might be a minuscule 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.”