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Crusaders and NZ Rugby investigate 'very serious' allegations against players

The Super Rugby club’s players are said to be ‘distraught’ about the allegations.

THE CRUSADERS AND New Zealand Rugby [NZR] have launched a joint investigation into allegations about the behaviour of players on the Super Rugby champions’ recent trip to South Africa.

Scott Robertson’s squad were in Cape Town for a Super Rugby clash with the Stormers last weekend and have since been accused of what the Crusaders termed “inappropriate and offensive behavior” in two separate alleged incidents.

A Crusaders Flag The Crusaders are the reigning back-to-back Super Rugby champions. Source: John Davidson/INPHO

In a statement yesterday, after the first allegation was made, the Crusaders said team management, the three players involved and their South African-based security advisor were all “devastated by the allegation and the implication of homophobic behaviour.”

Today, after a second alleged incident involving another Crusaders player came to light, the Christchurch-based franchise has confirmed that a formal investigation has been launched in conjunction with NZR.

However, the Crusaders stressed that the players at the centre of the alleged incidents “continue to refute the alleged version of events.”

“The allegations that have been made about players, in two different incidences, are very serious,” said NZR chief rugby officer Nigel Cass.

“These allegations are about abuse, inappropriate and offensive behavior, and we do not tolerate this.

“We have very strong values of respect, inclusion and tolerance in Rugby – there is no place for the type of behavior that has been described.

“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.

“We are reaching out to the individuals who have made these allegations and urging them to formally lodge their complaints with the Independent Complaints Management Service, which is run by highly regarded lawyer Steph Dyhrberg.

“We have already discussed with Ms Dyhrberg her involvement in coordinating an investigation into both incidents.”

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge added:

“The players are distraught about the accusations as they continue to refute the alleged version of events.

“Clearly the right thing to do is to formalise the investigation into these matters, which would allow both sides to be heard.”

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Murray Kinsella

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