All Black George Bridge has been confirmed as one of the players at the centre of an alleged homophobic incident in South Africa.
Customers at a McDonald's restaurant on Long Street in the Cape Town CBD claim they were the subject of homophobic slurs by members of the Crusaders shortly after the Super Rugby match against the Stormers but have not yet produced hard evidence.
As many as three Crusaders players were accused on Instagram by Cape Town man Alexandros Paterimos of "physically intimidating" behaviour, however, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson claims only one player, All Black George Bridge, was involved, denying that anything "untoward" happened.
"George who I've talked a lot about, he engaged with him ... he's really upset around everything that's come out, he's extremely, authentically genuine that there was nothing ever said," Robertson said.
"George said 'mate I just want to have a photo with you' ... there was no interaction with anyone else. That's where the misinterpretation came. A selfie gone wrong really.
"He just can't understand how it's got to this platform."
The Crusaders strongly refuted the 'socialised account' of events in a statement released yesterday.
"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. 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."
Robertson further downplayed the interaction saying "no homophobic words or gestures were used".
"The boys really refute all the allegations," Robertson said. "Nothing was ever said."
Paterimos has since threatened to release security footage of the incident, posting his exchange with Crusaders management on Instagram.
"We understand that you may have your reservations against us as the men are most likely lying to you about what happened, however we will prove that we are not lying as we are getting surveillance footage from the McDonald's (as we weren't able to yesterday)," Paterimos wrote to the Crusaders management and then shared to his Instagram story.
"After we get that back, then you will see that we deserve an apology and some action against this homophobic behaviour. Telling us that we are lying is EXTREMELY offensive and we will not stand for that."