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David Davies Australia head coach, Michael Cheika.
# Rugby
Cheika denies trying to cover up reason for Beale axing
Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper breached team protocol by inviting three women back to their hotel room.

MICHAEL CHEIKA HAS denied he tried to cover up the real reason for Kurtley Beale’s surprise axing from the Wallabies team, after it emerged he was dropped for allowing women into his hotel room.

The Australia coach had on Thursday told reporters the gifted playmaker was left out of the matchday squad to play England at Twickenham this weekend for form reasons.

It was subsequently reported that Beale and fellow veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper were in fact punished for allowing the women – known to the pair – into their Cardiff hotel following Australia’s 9-6 defeat by Wales on November 10.

When he decided to drop the players, Cheika said he opted against making the real reason public as it would have been counter-productive to the team.

“It’s more effective where there’s that silent type of approach,” he was quoted as saying in the Sydney Daily Telegraph Saturday.

“Often when you’re doing these things and you broadcast and you send out a news release, you’re trying to appease others,” he added, denying he had lied earlier in the week when he was asked about Beale’s surprise axing.

“I said he has been in and out of form this whole year, which he has been, he was on the bench last week [against Italy],” Cheika said, according to the newspaper.

I know that’s your mentality to think everything is a cover-up, but it’s not, I want to be really clear.”

Australia Training Session - Principality Stadium David Davies Australia's Kurtley Beale warms up at The Principality Stadium, Cardiff. David Davies

Cheika said he answers to Rugby Australia, who are “fully supportive” of the decision.

“I don’t think I need to come out and tell anyone just for the sake of it. [But] once it comes out and there’s whispers, then I have to set the record straight, which is what I’m doing.”

Australian media reported that three women, one of them Ashley-Cooper’s sister-in-law, joined the pair for drinks in the hotel bar and then went to their room to order some food. They were gone by midnight.

But the Wallabies’ team rules state guests are not allowed in players’ rooms.

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Cheika only became aware of the incident when the team’s leadership group, led by skipper Michael Hooper, told him during the week.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said while she felt some sympathy for the two players, the correct steps were taken to reprimand them.

“This is a situation where two boys brought some friends and family back into their hotel without thinking of the implications of that, because they were friends and family,” she told Australian reporters in London.

But once it was pointed out to them that the rule was there for a reason, they recognised that they had erred, and they accepted the team and Michael’s position.”

Despite being axed, Ashley-Cooper and Beale, who have 200 caps between them, took part in the Wallabies’ training session at Twickenham on Friday with Cheika saying they were apologetic.

© – AFP 2018  

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