Wallabies coach Davie Rennie said his players were angry at three teammates, including star winger Marika Koroibete, who have been stood out of Saturday’s Bledisloe Test against New Zealand over a drinking session that broke team rules.
Koroibete and teammates Pone Fa’amausili and Isi Naisarani broke team protocols on Saturday when they carried on drinking in a hotel room for more than two hours after a team curfew.
Speaking to media on Wednesday afternoon Rennie said the sanctions of a one test ban was decided on the weekend with players told on Monday.
“It’s not so much that they were intoxicated – it was that they kept drinking well beyond the time that was listed,” Rennie said.
“We’d stated the importance in our preparation for the All Blacks that we all needed to be at our very best to try and force the All Blacks to be below their best.
“This obviously didn’t fit with our mindset so we’re incredibly disappointed. A big chunk of our group is pretty angry.”
He said it was revealed on Wednesday so as not to overshadow Thursday’s team announcement for the first Test, as
Koroibete was a certain starter.
RA released a statement on Wednesday afternoon that said: “The group had dinner and drinks at the team hotel last Saturday night after a full training week, prior to a training free day. Three players breached team protocols by continuing to drink alcohol well beyond an agreed time.
“As such, Marika Koroibete, Pone Fa’amausili and Isi Naisarani will not be considered for selection for this weekend’s match.
“There was no illegal behaviour, no damage and no complaints made. No further investigation will take place, or any further action.”
Koroibete was red carded in the opening minutes of Australia’s third Test win over France but was cleared of suspension.
Rennie said players had notified team management. He ddeclined to discuss details of the Wallabies curfew times, but added: “It was certainly more than two hours over the time we discussed as a group. The boys went back to the room and carried on, and that’s why we’ve made the decision.
“We have a big squad here – 42 players. Thirty-nine understood the importance of getting together, connecting and having a quiet beer and three guys lacked the discipline required beyond that.”
he said the three players had apologised to theheir teammates. “They know they let the boys down. They’ve got to earn the trust and respect again and that’s down to what they do not what they say.”
Rennie said the incident was frustrating.
“We’ve wasted a lot of time dealing with the players,” he said. “The squad are resilient. We made the announcement to the group on Monday everyone was supportive and we’re focussing on what we need to do.
“It won’t have a detrimental effect, if anything it will galvanise us.
“We are building a culture of working hard for each other and being accountable for our actions.
“On this occasion, these three players haven’t lived up to that.
“Ultimately these three men have paid a big price for their decisions but that’s the standard we expect of each other.”
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos added: “Rugby Australia supports the action taken by the team, and the internal standards they have set for each other.
“As an organisation, we expect the highest standards at all times. While we also acknowledge that this is a minor incident, I applaud Dave and the team for taking such an open and transparent approach.”