Aussie stars shown red card for partying in VIP section of club until 3am
MEMBERS of the Australian rugby team partied in the VIP section of a well-known Dublin nightclub until 3am during their stay in Ireland.
Six Wallabies have received a one-match ban and a further nine have been sanctioned over a late-night session in Dublin, days before they beat Ireland 32-15 at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
The incident occurred last Tuesday night, ahead of a day off on Wednesday. But according to Australian head coach Ewen McKenzie, players had consumed "inappropriate levels of alcohol".
After reportedly having dinner and drinks in the city centre, several of the Australian players went on to Krystle Nightclub on Harcourt Street.
The venue is a well-known haunt of the Irish rugby team, who are often seen there unwinding on weekends after provincial and international games.
The Australian players arrived to the nightclub unannounced at 11pm on Tuesday and an area in the VIP section was closed off for them until they left to return to the Radisson Blu St Helen's Hotel in Stillorgan where the squad was staying.
"They were here, they just enjoyed a few laid-back drinks," Rangan Arulchelvan, owner of Krystle, told the Irish Independent.
"They were also signing autographs for fans and happily chatted to whoever came over," Mr Arulchelvan added. It is believed that two of the players had stopped by neighbouring nightclub Everleigh Garden before joining the rest of the group in the 'penthouse' at Krystle.
The sanctioned players include Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson and Liam Gill, who will not play at Murrayfield this weekend, while Paddy Ryan will serve his ban next week when the Wallabies play Wales.
Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Fainga'a, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps were handed written sanctions, while Scott Fardy, Mike Harris, Ben McCalman and Nic White were reprimanded verbally but will be available for the Scottish game.
McKenzie's decision comes a month after James O'Connor was released from his Australian Rugby Union (ARU) contract with immediate effect after an investigation into off-field behavioural issues.
The most recent of which these issues was when 23-year-old O'Connor was escorted by police off a plane at Perth airport. The Wallabies coach said yesterday that his decision to suspend some of his squad ahead of the Scotland fixture came down to the need to remind the players "to make smart decisions to benefit the team".
"The worst thing you could do for the Wallabies in the long-term is do nothing, because that would mean we would be ignoring poor culture and a significant performance issue," McKenzie said.
"We will always take action in relation to examples of poor culture when it's warranted, doing nothing to address poor behaviour will never be an option. We've taken on the challenge of re-defining our team culture," he said.
"Already this year we've spent a lot of time being crystal clear around behaviours to ensure we are in a position to take the step up to the next level," he said.