Wallabies trio cleared, questions remain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies trio cleared, questions remain

By Jim Morton 23/08/2011 07:00:25 PM Comments (0)

Star players were cleared but questions were left unanswered as the Wallabies November tango in Paris turned from a drama into a mystery on Tuesday.

The Australian Rugby Union found no grounds to take action following inquiries into explosive allegations of a drunken fight on tour between close friends Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale and the already-banned James O'Connor.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans believed his exciting backline trio had been unfairly maligned by the claims, which he said were nonsense.

Cooper and Beale twice fronted the media on Tuesday to squash the rumours but it remains unclear what occurred four days before the 56-19 thrashing of France in Paris in November last year.

The duo admitted there had been a disagreement in Paris but nothing sinister and it was just a case of boys being boys and not always seeing eye to eye.

However, the nature of the disagreement will remain a mystery as all three dodged the chance to fill in the blanks.

Beale, who was pictured with a black eye in the lead-up to the record Test win at Stade Francais, flatly denied there was a physical altercation, as did Cooper.

None directly answered questions of what actually happened, what the nature of the disagreement was and where it took place.

"We wouldn't be sitting here as best mates if there was any issues," five-eighth Cooper said.

"Reports have claimed the trio were fined in-house by fellow players, as Wallabies coaches and support staff were not told anything about the alleged incident.

Team manager Bob Egerton on Tuesday said he was unaware of any incident and, if there had been, Beale, Cooper and O'Connor were as tight as ever in the days afterwards.

Deans said: "There's been a lot of suggestions that are just fallacy. Some of the suggestions are pretty grave, whether it be police or fines. Where that comes from, I don't know. It was a typical Test week. These blokes have told you they had a disagreement, it wasn't of a significant nature. They had an argument, as people who are close do.

"Beyond that, there was nothing."

Beale suspected the allegations had been raised by people looking to undermine the Wallabies at this special time.

"They have taken the focus away from the Wallabies' chance to end a 10-year Tri Nations drought at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night with a win over the All Blacks, which would also provide great momentum heading into next month's World Cup.

But New Zealand coach Graham Henry felt the controversy wouldn't derail Australia, and could actually galvanise their squad.

"A bit of controversy pulls people together and gives them a bit of an edge," he said.

Henry backed the ARU for standing down O'Connor for his failing to attend last week's World Cup announcement after a night on the town.

"I think it's been done well," he said.

"He's (O'Connor) got a responsibility because he's in that situation. I think it's how people respond from those situations and I'm sure he'll respond very well."

Deans made three changes to his starting team with low-tackling Queensland centre Anthony Faingaa the most notable as he gets his chance following O'Connor's ban.

Adam Ashley-Cooper has been moved from the midfield to the wing in the backline reshuffle, while lock Dan Vickerman and No.8 Radike Samo come into the starting pack.

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