Wallabies' Ewen McKenzie said he had no choice but axe
WALLABIES coach Ewen McKenzie said he had no choice but to drop six players and warn another nine after a late-night drinking session in the days before Saturday's 32-15 win against Ireland at Landsdowne Road.
Five players - front-rowers Benn Robinson and Tatafu Polota-Nau, loose forward Liam Gill and backs Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nick Cummins - have been stood down from this week's match against Scotland in Edinburgh.
And a sixth, prop Paddy Ryan, would also have been given a week off, but the shortage of players in his position means he will serve his one-match ban the following week against Wales.
McKenzie said dropping the players would clearly make life difficult against Scotland, but also said the incident served as, "a great opportunity to circle the wagons".
"The worst thing you could do for the Wallabies in the long term is do nothing, because that would mean ignoring poor culture and a significant performance issue," McKenzie said.
"The players involved have accepted the outcomes and we'll make the best of it."
Previous coach Robbie Deans was plagued by off-field incidents involving high-profile players Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Digby Ioane and James O'Connor during his time in charge of the Wallabies.
Cooper appears to be back on the straight and narrow under McKenzie, the coach making it clear that while players had not met the team standards required, they had not broken any laws.
"Let's be clear: these are internal sanctions and are not the result of any complaints or reports of inappropriate or sinister behaviour while our players were out," McKenzie said.
"We will always take action in relation to examples of poor culture when it's warranted: doing nothing will never be an option."