Australia backs Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper were not considered for selection for the match against England as punishment for inviting women to their hotel room.
Coach Michael Cheika confirmed the sanction yesterday, at the same time as announcing No 8 David Pocock was out of today’s test at Twickenham after failing a fitness test on his sore neck.
Beale and Ashley-Cooper, who have a combined 200 caps, invited three women to their hotel room after losing to Wales 9-6 on in Cardiff on 10 November. The Wallabies’ website believed the women were Ashley-Cooper’s sister-in-law and friends.
However, Australia has a rule that no guests are allowed in hotel rooms, and team leaders including captain Michael Hooper, Pocock, Nick Phipps, Samu Kerevi and Allan Alaalatoa decided a breach occurred.
But Cheika wasn’t informed until Tuesday. Ashley-Cooper played his first Test in more than two years last weekend against Italy, and Beale was a replacement. Beale, at least, was expected to start against England.
Cheika decided one-game suspensions were appropriate.
“There’s disappointment [from me], and they are disappointed, too,” Cheika said. “It’s a small error of judgment. It could be compared to not being on curfew or late for training. If we want to compete with the best, all the small shortcuts have to be gone, on and off the field.
“Although this was a minor thing, I felt that if you keep a grey area there then it gets bigger, so I may as well make a stand on it and go from there.
“The two of them were very apologetic, they realised their error and they have been trying to help the other players get ready for the game.”