Australia coach Ewen McKenzie has suspended six members of his squad ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Scotland after they were involved in a late-night drinking session.
Wingers Adam Ashley Cooper and Nick Cummins as well as forwards Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson and Liam Gill have all been stood down from the final Autumn international at Murrayfield.
A sixth player — Paddy Ryan — will serve his suspension in Australia’s final Spring Tour clash against Wales while nine other players have been “sanctioned” for breaching team rules ahead of the 32-15 victory over Ireland at the weekend.
Wallabies boss McKenzie has come down hard on his men after they went out drinking on Tuesday night.
“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.
“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.”
Following a review of each individual case, the Australian Rugby Union say McKenzie has handed down punishments varying from a one-game suspension to written or verbal warnings. In a statement, the ARU said that the “level of punishment has been determined by the severity of the infraction for each individual and was also based on the expectations of players preparing for the Ireland Test as part of the 23-man matchday squad”.
Ryan’s delayed suspension is due to IRB regulations requiring each matchday squad to contain at least four props. With only five props chosen in Australia’s 32-man touring squad, either Robinson or Ryan is required to participate in each of the upcoming Tests against Scotland and Wales.
Written warnings were also handed to Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Fainga’a, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps, while Scott Fardy, Mike Harris, Ben McCalman and Nic White were told verbally that their behaviour was not up to standard. But McKenzie stressed his action was not the result of complaints made by members of the public.
* Three players sent off during the weekend’s autumn Test matches will face disciplinary hearings in London today. Tonga prop Sona Taumalolo and France lock Yoann Maestri were both dismissed for punching during a brawl when the countries met on Saturday.
Australia centre Tevita Kuridrani, meanwhile, was dismissed for a dangerous tackle as the Wallabies beat Ireland in Dublin two days ago.
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