Oz drunkards get one-Test ban

2013-11-18 14:23
Ewen McKenzie (Getty)

London - Australia coach Ewen McKenzie announced on Monday that six Wallaby players would receive one-match bans for "inappropriate" drinking.

McKenzie said wings Adam Ashley Cooper and Nick Cummins; front-rowers Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson and Paddy Ryan; and backrower Liam Gill had all drunk so much in the build-up to Australia's 32-15 win over Ireland on Saturday they each deserved a one-match ban.

The suspensions will be served in this Saturday's clash against Scotland at Murrayfield with the exception of Ryan, who will be banned from Australia's European tour finale against Wales in Cardiff on November 30.

"Everyone in our squad is required to comply with and adhere to high standards of ethical conduct both on and off the field," McKenzie said in an Australian Rugby Union statement.

"Those standards were compromised in the lead-up to Saturday's victory over Ireland with a group of players making the decision to stay out late and consume inappropriate levels of alcohol during the early hours of Wednesday morning."

Ryan's delayed suspension is due to International Rugby Board regulations requiring each match day squad to contain at least four props.

With only five props chosen in Australia's 32-man touring squad, one of either Robinson or Ryan is required to participate against Scotland and Wales.

In addition, McKenzie also sanctioned a further nine players for "breaches of internal team protocols", with punishments determined by the "severity of the infraction" and on expectations of those players included in the match-day 23 to play Ireland.

Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Fainga'a, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps all received written warnings, while Scott Fardy, Mike Harris, Ben McCalman and Nic White were all spoken to by team chiefs.

McKenzie insisted he wasn't responding to any external complaint.

"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," he said.

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

"Doing nothing to address poor behaviour will never be an option," McKenzie, who replaced Robbie Deans as Australia coach following the series loss to the British and Irish Lions in July, said.

"We've taken on the challenge of re-defining our team culture," added McKenzie who, prior to the European tour, axed James O'Connor from the Wallaby squad after the talented playmaker's latest embarrassing off-field incident saw him escorted off the premises of Perth Airport.

Victory over Ireland saw Australia achieve back-to-back wins for the first time in 2013 after they thrashed Italy 50-20 in Turin.

And McKenzie insisted the bans would not be used as an excuse for a sub-standard display against Scotland.

"There is no doubt having talented players unavailable will put this team under significant pressure but we won't be using this situation as an excuse," he said.

Ironically, ahead of last weekend's match in Dublin, McKenzie had warned his players of the dangers of excessive Irish hospitality.

The 48-year-old former prop experienced it first-hand at the 1991 World Cup when, having let his hair down with team-mates before the game, he played for eventual champions Australia in a tense 19-18 quarter-final win over Ireland at Dublin's Lansdowne Road.

"Away from the field they enjoy it, have a good time, but you've got to remember you've got a game to play on Saturday," said McKenzie.

"It doesn't mean you go out and drink Guinness all night, but you go out and see what's going on, there is plenty of history to look at. It's the balance."

Read more on:    wallabies  |  ewen mckenzie  |  rugby

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