Kurtley Beale's chances of playing for Australia against the Lions took another significant hit yesterday when the Melbourne Rebels said their backline star would take an indefinite leave of absence from Super Rugby and enter a private health clinic.
Last week, Beale was stood down just one match after returning from a month-long ban for an alcohol-fuelled altercation with two Melbourne team-mates during a tour to South Africa.
His most recent ban came after he admitted that he drank alcohol with some team-mates after a match a week ago, breaching an agreement he made with the club. He also was reported to have missed an appointment with a psychologist as part of ongoing counselling sessions.
In a statement, the Rebels said any future selection is "dependent upon successful completion of his treatment programme".
The 24-year-old Beale can be one of the most enterprising attacking backs in world rugby when he's in peak form, but a series of off-field problems have recently overshadowed his career.
He missed six Super Rugby matches this season due to a hand injury and the suspension. After undergoing counselling for a month, he returned to training on April 30 and came off the bench a day later in defeat to the Chiefs.
Yesterday, Beale's long-time former mentor Glen Ella said Beale should be banned from playing against the Lions because of his off-field problems.
"I'd love to see him playing against the Lions but, in all honesty, I think that's going to be part of his rehabilitation," Ella said. "I think he needs to sit this one out. The Lions only come around every 12 years and we want to be able to put our best team on the park.
"But he is a Wallaby and there's traditions that have gone on before Kurtley that we have to uphold and getting into trouble continually is not one of those."