Wallabies not in disarray, insists Michael Cheika

Adam Ashley Cooper and Kurtley Beale have been dropped by Australia coach Michael Cheika for the Autumn International against England for disciplinary reasons
Beale And Ashley-Cooper Dropped By Australia After Hotel Incident Post Wales Defeat
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26 November, 2018

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.

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".

"I thought I needed to take action", Cheika said.

Australia's leadership group discussed the issue in the lead-up to the Italy Test before bringing it to Cheika on Tuesday, who decided a one-match suspension was appropriate but that it would be dealt with inside team walls.

"They're very contrite that they let the team down, we've seen by their involvement during the week and today that they want nothing more than the team to win, ' Cheika said".

"There's different times when we bring our families into the hotel, but this was different and even though there is nothing sinister I still think the rules are rules".

"We've got to make this team better and stop making the small excuses, 'I didn't understand that that would be, I thought that would be okay, '".

"If you haven't been good enough, or the bounce of the ball or something like that can occur, you've got to have faith inside of your own team, and then outside of the team, because at the end of the day that's the team we support".

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"There's a lot of great people in our team and a lot of great things happening behind the scenes that right now aren't turning themselves into wins but we'll turn them into wins next year".

His England counterpart and former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones suggested that things would be a lot better with the Wallabies if they introduced a centralised contract system that has served Six Nations champions Ireland so well.

"They [Ashley-Cooper and Beale] were very apologetic".

Cheika declared on Thursday that Beale's omission was due to form, but after news broke in Australia about the suspension he denied he'd been trying to cover up the suspensions.

"It's extremely hard. There's no way around it", Hooper said. "We've got big goals as a team".

Rugby Australia (RA) will conduct a review within a month after the Wallabies' year from hell and plenty is riding on it.

Meanwhile, Pete Samu will now slot into the No 8 position left by David Pocock, with Marika Koroibete to join spare backs Nick Phipps and Sefa Naivalu on a 5-3 bench which leaves the Wallabies without a utility player on the pine that Cheika said was not ideal.

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