Force fine mess caps dirty weekend for Aussie teams
RUGBY: It was a messy weekend for Australian rugby, only made worse by the dirty deeds of a pair of Western Force players coming to a head.
While the country’s five Super Rugby teams suffered a whitewash of defeats in the penultimate round of competition, Force captain Pek Cowan and fullback Dane Haylett-Petty were dealt with for their antics the previous weekend in Bloemfontein.
Both Cowan and Haylett- Petty were served with breach notices by the ARU after it was deemed they broke the Australian Rugby player code of conduct after the 30-29 loss to the Cheetahs.
Both players were fined $5000, Haylett-Petty for urinating in the hallway of the team hotel, Cowan for entering a team vehicle after the 1am curfew.
Haylett-Petty, who debuted for the Wallabies in the 3-0 Test series loss to England, was also involved in a heated play fight with his brother in which a vase was broken.
He paid to replace the vase, and he fronted teammates during the week to apologise.
“I was very disappointed with the way I acted and let the team down,” Haylett-Petty told Fox Sports yesterday.
“I’m really looking forward to trying to make up for it. Hopefully my actions speak louder than my words,” he said.
The off-field misbehaviour comes just a month after the ARU formed an alliance with the Force in a bid to save the struggling Perth-based franchise from going under.
The pair was cleared to play in Saturday night’s clash with the Stormers in Perth, which the hosts lost 22-3, allowing the South Africans to book a home play-off berth.
The Hurricanes and Crusaders contributed to the clean sweep of Australian sides, and kept the pressure on the leading Chiefs in the tough New Zealand conference.
The Hurricanes badly hurt the Waratahs’ play-off chances by beating them 28-17, and the Crusaders demolished the Melbourne Rebels 85-26.
Their efforts followed the Blues smashing the ACT Brumbies 40-15, and the Chiefs crushing the Queensland Reds 50-5.
The Waratahs head into this week’s final round level on points with the Brumbies, who are at the top of the Australian conference due to having one more win.
If the Waratahs lose to the Blues in Auckland this Friday, and lose without getting a bonus point, the Brumbies will wrap up the Australian conference title before their game at home to the Force on Saturday.
Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson conceded his side faced a more difficult final round task than their Australian rivals.
“You saw how well the Blues played against the Brumbies, and so to go to Eden Park and firstly win, and get a bonus point, is a hugely difficult task,” Gibson said.