LONDON – Australia backs Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper were dropped for Saturday’s match against England at Twickenham after bringing women into their hotel room in Cardiff earlier on tour, coach Michael Cheika confirmed on Friday.
In a breach of team rules, three women came back to Australia’s team hotel in Newport, just outside Cardiff, following Australia’s 9-6 loss to Wales on November 10.
Australian media reported the women, said to include Ashley-Cooper’s sister-in-law, were out of the hotel by 10.30pm local time, but Wallabies’ team rules state guests are not allowed in players’ rooms.
Cheika, speaking to reporters at Twickenham on Friday, said he had only become aware of the incident earlier this week, which was why no action had been taken prior to the 26-7 win over Italy in Padova last Saturday – a match where Ashley-Cooper started on the wing and Beale came off the bench.
“It is a relatively minor inter-team rule we have,” said Cheika, who was flanked by Wallaby captain Michael Hooper at the press conference.
“The leadership group came to me earlier in the week and asked me to deal with it in a way I thought was appropriate, and I thought this was the appropriate way.”
Both Ashley-Cooper and Beale, who have exactly 200 caps between them, took part in the Wallabies’ training session at Twickenham on Friday, with Cheika stressing that at no stage had their selection for the England match been “guaranteed”.
“They were very apologetic. They realised their error, and they have been trying to help the other players get ready for tomorrow’s game,” said Cheika.
“I know you’ll be writing about this now, but I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure you are writing about an Australian victory on Saturday.”