Crusaders duo cleared after misconduct allegations on SA tour

Crusaders duo cleared after misconduct allegations on SA tour

New Zealand Rugby has asked the Crusaders to review their protocols around post-match player activity after the allegations of offensive behaviour during the Crusaders' Super Rugby tour of South Africa in early May.

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge also said they will also review their wider policies around alcohol and social media use.

However, All Blacks Richie Mo'unga and George Bridge have been cleared of serious breaches. New Zealand Rugby released the findings after an employment investigation that was undertaken following accusations made by members of the public in separate late-night incidents during the tour.

Bridge was part of a group accused of making homophobic slurs and “acting in intimidating manner” towards gay men at a McDonalds outlet in Cape Town a week after Mo’unga had allegedly been spitting at a woman in a Pretoria bar the week before.

NZ Rugby's independent complaint service sought surveillance camera footage and accounts from all parties, including the players, who had refuted the allegations.

NZ Rugby head of rugby Nigel Cass said that after surveillance of camera footage and accounts from all the parties concerned, they weren’t convinced of the allegations of what really took place.

Case said that, given the seriousness of these allegations, and the potential consequences, “we needed to be confident that what was alleged, actually took place, and we weren't.”

The claims against Bridge weren't upheld while those against Mo'unga could not be substantiated, he said.

Mo'unga was nevertheless admonished by the national body after he acknowledged he had been drinking and had interacted with the complainant in a way he regretted.

"We feel that he has learned some valuable lessons and we are satisfied that he will not put himself in the same position again in future," Cass said.

"He has been reminded of his obligation to be a role model for the sport at all times, especially when approached by members of the public – even in a social setting."

♦ NZ Rugby asked the Crusaders to review their protocols around post-match player activity.

Mo'unga and Bridge continued to play for Crusaders during the six-week investigation.