The Crusaders have denied allegations that three of their players were involved in an altercation where players mocked gay men at a fast food restaurant in Cape Town yesterday.
The allegations came to light after the Crusaders visited a McDonalds in Long Street following their 19-19 draw against the Stormers in Newlands on Sunday.
Crusaders players were accused on Instagram and Twitter of "physically intimidating" behaviour, making homophobic slurs and jeering.
The Crusaders released a statement this afternoon saying the organisation were "aware of allegations of an incident in Cape Town involving some of our players."
"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 Crusaders said in statement.
"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."
Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said he is taking the allegations seriously and will look further into the matter with players and staff.
"This is an organisation that is committed to inclusivity and is proud to have earned the Rainbow Tick certification. That is what makes these allegations particularly distressing," said Mr Mansbridge.
"Given the serious nature of these allegations I will be meeting with the team management and players on their return to Christchurch, however I am confident in the account that we have received from the team and the security advisor who was present."
Allegations surfaced on social media yesterday with a South African Twitter user posting a message alleging "a friend of mine and his friends" were "attacked" by members of a New Zealand rugby team in McDonald's in Long St, Cape Town.
"As we entered, we were met by jeers and sniggers from them," said one of complainants in a separate post.
"They then proceeded to record us as a joke.
"When catching them in the act, they told us they did because we looked funny to them."
The complainants accused the players of "began physically intimidating us - coming up to our faces telling us we better stop arguing or they will "f...k us up if we didn't watch it".
"Then, after arguing that straight white men are losing power, we were met with homophobic slurs, limp wrists and high-pitched voices which were clearly in jest."
The accuser recorded the Crusaders players during the incident, with an older man - believed to be a security official linked to the Crusaders - stepping in to defuse the situation.
The complainant alleged the man "grabbed my phone and proceeded to grab me - bouncers came and told me to leave the man alone and respect our elders."