herald

Friday 27 April 2018

Aussie players banned for Dublin booze binge

Stood down: Nick Cummins scores his side's first try against Ireland. Photo: Sportsfile
Stood down: Nick Cummins scores his side's first try against Ireland. Photo: Sportsfile

SIX Australian rugby players have been stood down for this weekend's clash with Scotland after a drinking binge in Dublin last week.

A further nine have been sanctioned over the booze fest.

Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson and Liam Gill will not play at Murrayfield this weekend, while Paddy Ryan will serve his ban next week against Wales a week later, because the Wallabies are required to have four props on the bench.

Incident

Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Fainga'a, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps were handed written sanctions, while Scott Fardy, Mike Harris, Ben McCalman and Nic White were reprimanded verbally but will be available for the Scottish game.

The incident occurred last Tuesday night when players formed into groups and went out to dinner in Dublin ahead of a day off on Wednesday and according to Australian head coach Ewen McKenzie had consumed "inappropriate levels of alcohol".

"The Qantas Wallabies, in conjunction with the ARU, have decided to take significant action in a quest to drive the highest standards off the field," McKenzie said.

"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. 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.

"We will always take action in relation to examples of poor culture when it's warranted doing nothing to address poor behaviour will never be an option. We've taken on the challenge of re-defining our team culture."

McKenzie said the sanctions also wouldn't be used as an excuse for poor performance against Scotland at Murrayfield.

"The players involved have accepted the outcomes and we'll concentrate on moving on and making the best of the situation," he said.

"Our entire focus remains on beating Scotland."

hnews@herald.ie

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