Rugby

ARU won't act over brawl

2011-08-23 08:40
Quade Cooper (AFP)

Sydney - The Australian Rugby Union said on Tuesday it has found no grounds to take action against three young Wallabies reportedly involved in a drunken brawl on last year's European tour.

News reports on Monday alleged star backs Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor were involved in a fight in the days before the Wallabies scored a record 59-16 win over France in Paris last November.

The alleged incident, on top of O'Connor's one-week ban on Monday for missing last week's World Cup squad announcement, has overshadowed the build up to the Wallabies' Tri-Nations decider against New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday.

But the ARU said it has completed an inquiry into allegations and has found no grounds to take action against any players.

"The ARU has spoken to all relevant parties and to other members of the squad following the emergence of allegations surrounding three players - Kurtley Beale, James O’Connor and Quade Cooper," the ARU said in a statement.

"The ARU has ascertained there was a disagreement between the players during the week leading into the Test against France which the Wallabies won in record-breaking fashion.

"However, the players involved maintain it was not of a serious nature, there was no one else present and subsequent enquiries have failed to find any other first-hand witnesses.

"There has also been no corroboration that the players were fined internally, forfeited their match payments or that there was any police involvement."

The governing body said it had been unaware of the allegations until contacted by a number of media organisations on Sunday leading to their investigation.

Earlier Cooper and Beale told reporters there was nothing "sinister" about reports of an altercation between them during last November's European tour.

"We're here to squash the rumours that there was an incident between us and James O'Connor during the (European) tour but as you can see we're all best of mates again," flyhalf Cooper said before team training on Tuesday.

"There's always going to be disagreements and stuff like that but in terms of anything sinister there's nothing going on.

"It's boys being boys and that's what we're here for and that's to squash it and get it over with and get on with it.

"We've got a massive game against the All Blacks this weekend and then it's the World Cup and that's where our focus is solely and we're not going to let anyone divert our attention from the job at hand."

Cooper and Beale denied there was any police involvement but Beale suggested there was some sort of confrontation, although the pair did not go into detail before heading off to training.

"We're good mates and you are always going to come eye to eye at one stage," said fullback Beale, who was pictured in a newspaper on Tuesday showing a mark under his left eye as he lined up with the team before the kickoff to the French Test in Paris last November.

"We have obviously got over it and we had a good win over France later that week," he said.

Read more on:    aru  |  james o'connor  |  kurtley beale  |  quade cooper
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