ARU staff in Beale scandal quits

Date published: October 11 2014

The Wallabies staffer who clashed with Kurtley Beale and sparked a major controversy has quit, according to reports.

The Wallabies staffer who clashed with Kurtley Beale and sparked a major controversy over team management has quit, according to reports.

Team business manager Di Patston resigned late on Friday, Fairfax Media reported following a sensational press conference that day when Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie denied having an affair with her.

An Australian Rugby Union spokeswoman told Fairfax Media Saturday Patston was no longer an ARU employee, after resigning late on Friday, due to stress relating to recent events.

Patston has been at the centre of controversy involving the Wallabies after Beale was suspended for allegedly clashing verbally with her during a flight from South Africa to Argentina last week.

Beale has since faced a secondary investigation for allegedly sending inappropriate text messages relating to Patston.

The controversy took an unexpected twist on Friday when McKenzie denied rumours he was in a relationship with Patston.

“I’ve got a professional relationship with her.” And I refute that,” McKenzie told reporters, when asked if he had an “intimate” relationship with Patston.

McKenzie, who is married with children, defended Patston’s appointment, which was made during his tenure, and said he did not believe it had caused “angst” in the team.

“She’s got extraordinary skills and she had made a massive difference to the business side of it and that’s what she’s done,” said McKenzie.

Beale is under investigation by the ARU over both the argument and the text messages, and is expected to face a hearing early next week.

Australian media reports said the situation had become divisive in the Wallabies camp, which is also reeling from last week’s 21-17 defeat -Argentina’s first win in the Rugby Championship.

Beale’s 47-Test career has been dogged by a succession of off-field problems and last year the 25-year-old was forced to undergo counselling and rehabilitation for his struggles with alcohol.

The Waratahs playmaker is off contract for next season and has yet to agree on a new deal with the ARU.