Cheika denies trying to cover-up reason for Beale axing
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: 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 on Thursday told reporters the gifted playmaker had been 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 women – known to the pair – into their Cardiff hotel following Australia’s 6-9 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.”
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, were out of the hotel by 22.30 GMT. But the Wallabies’ team rules state guests are not allowed in players’ rooms.
Cheika only became aware of the incident when the team’s leadership group, led skipper Michael Hooper, told him during the week.
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 and realised their error.