Three rugby players banned amid Australian behavioral issues
SYDNEY (AP) — Rugby Australia said Wednesday that three players will not be considered for selection in Saturday’s opening Bledisloe Cup test match against New Zealand after a breach of team protocol for drinking after a team-imposed curfew.
It said Marika Koroibete, Pone Fa’amausili and Isi Naisarani will not play in the first of three matches in the annual series.
“The group had dinner and drinks at the team hotel last Saturday night after a full training week, prior to a training-free day,” a Rugby Australia statement said. “Three players breached team protocols by continuing to drink alcohol well beyond an agreed time. There was no illegal behavior, no damage and no complaints made. No further investigation will take place, or any further action.”
It’s the second reported incident involving Australian teams this week.
The Australian men’s rugby sevens team and the women’s soccer team are under investigation amid allegations of bad behavior on their flight home from Japan after the Olympics.
Rugby Australia and the Australian Olympic Committee released statements following concerns by Japan Airlines on the flight home from Tokyo on July 30 which alleged “drunken behavior.”
Rugby Australia said it was investigating the incident.
“Rugby Australia has been made aware of incidents involving the Australian men’s sevens program after being informed by the Australian Olympic Committee,” the statement said. “Rugby Australia has begun its own internal investigation into the matter based on the information provided by the AOC.”
The Australian men’s sevens team finished seventh in Tokyo after winning just one group game and being shut out by gold medalists Fiji in the quarterfinals. The women’s soccer team did not qualify for the knockout stage after being beaten 2-0 by Egypt.
In another incident, Australian chef de mission Ian Chesterman confirmed the men’s rugby sevens team and rowing teams left a hole in the wall in the athletes accommodation at the Olympic Village but indicated no action would be taken.
“There was a hole in the wall, but that’s pretty easy to do,” Chesterman said. “I understand there’s some big people and some very flimsy walls, temporary walls as well. I don’t think you had to do much to put a hole in the wall.”
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