Planet Rugby

Wallabies suspend boozy players

18th November 2013 11:19

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Adam Ashley Cooper Aus v Ita 2013

Stood down: Ashely-Cooper

Australia have opted to stand down six players after the group stayed out late and drank heavily in Dublin last week.

Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson and Liam Gill will not play against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, while Paddy Ryan will serve his ban in Cardiff next week as the Wallabies must have two props among the replacements.

Sanctions were meted out to a further nine members of the squad, with Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Fainga'a, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps handed written warnings.

Scott Fardy, Mike Harris, Ben McCalman and Nic White were dealt with verbally.

These high-profile sanctions came after the players went out for dinner in Dublin on Tuesday ahead of their rest day on Wednesday.

After eating in groups, the sanctioned players went out in town and arrived back late having consumed what coach Ewen McKenzie termed "inappropriate levels of alcohol".

With no official complaints made against the players, and no incidents recorded, McKenzie was keen to point out that the sanctions were an internal matter, and not the upshot of public misdemeanours from the Wallaby squad members.

"Let's be clear - these are internal sanctions and aren't a result of any complaints or reports of inappropriate or sinister behaviour while our players were out," McKenzie told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Instead, we have chosen to address an issue that has come up internally and we are now being up-front about it.

"We've done this because we need to continually reinforce the need for our players to make smart decisions to benefit the team.

"The worst thing you could do for the Qantas Wallabies in the long-term is do nothing, because that would mean we would be ignoring poor culture and a significant performance issue."

The sanctions will result in drastic changes to McKenzie's selection plans, with winger Joe Tomane and youngster Chris Feauai-Sautia likely to be catapulted into the starting line-up.

The team-sheet will be further affected should Tevita Kuridrani face a suspension after being sent off for a tip-tackle on Ireland's Peter O'Mahony in Saturday's 32-15 win.

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