New captain Inglis suspended after DUI charge
SYDNEY (AP) — Australia’s new rugby league captain Greg Inglis was suspended on Tuesday for this month’s two-test tour of New Zealand after being charged with mid-range drink driving just hours after his appointment.
Inglis had said in a press conference he hoped to keep his place in the Kangaroos team to take on the Kiwis and Tonga, but soon afterward he was suspended by National Rugby League CEO Todd Greenberg and Australia coach Mal Meninga.
“Greg is not just a great player, he is one of our best role models, but he made a poor decision on this occasion,” Greenberg said.
Meninga on Monday named Inglis to replace the retiring Cameron Smith as captain, but only hours later the South Sydney and Queensland utility was pulled over by police near Sydney for speeding. He reportedly failed a roadside blood test and a later breath test. He is due to appear in court in late November and has said he will plead guilty.
At a news conference, Inglis was remorseful but said he did not intend to resign the captaincy.
“I am sincerely apologetic,” the 31-year-old said. “I hope we can get this sorted and move on from this.
“As a player in this community it’s not good enough. This is a lesson everyone should take out of this: if you’re not right to drive, have a plan B.
“Once again I am very sorry.”
Inglis said he had spoken to Meninga Tuesday morning and had not resigned or been told to resign. Greenberg and Meninga announced the decision to suspend him some two hours later.
Australia selector Laurie Daley is among several leading figures who have called for Inglis to lose the captaincy.
“Greg’s been a terrific leader for South Sydney and Queensland but I don’t think you can have the Australian captain going DUI,” Daley said.
Inglis will not challenge the ban and it remains possible he could return as the Kangaroos captain next year when Meninga names his next squad.
Sydney Roosters captain Boyd Cordner will take over as skipper for the Tests against New Zealand and Tonga.
Inglis’ Rabbitohs teammate Dane Gagai has also been called into the 19-man squad as a centre replacement.
Inglis was pulled over by police at Lithgow, 86 miles (140 kilometers) west of Sydney. He was found to have a blood alcohol level of 0.085, above the legal limit in New South Wales state of 0.05.