Two Western Force players have been suspended for reportedly drinking “one to two glasses of wine” on a flight from Melbourne to Perth.
Two Western Force players have been stood down for reportedly drinking “one to two glasses of wine” on a flight from Melbourne to Perth.
As first revealed by The Daily Telegraphhooker Andrew Ready and winger Byron Ralston will not feature in Friday evening’s Super Rugby Pacific match against the Queensland Reds after drinking alcohol on a four-hour flight last weekend.
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Veteran prop Greg Holmes is also expected to be penalised, but will not be stood down for the Round 3 fixture due to the team’s lack of tighthead options, according to the News Corp report.
Matt Hodgson, the Force’s general manager of rugby, revealed that the team’s senior leadership group led the decision to suspend Ready and Ralston, who will be replaced by hooker Jack Winchester and 21-year-old Grason Makara.
“They weren’t drunk or intoxicated on the plane, they each had one to two glasses of wine with their meals, but this was a player-led decision and it was determined that because we were wearing Force uniforms and with the short turnaround between games they shouldn’t have been drinking,” Hodgson told The Daily Telegraph.
“This is very much part of setting the standards for the culture we’re trying to build here.
“And I can’t fault the reaction of the three players, they made the decision to stand themselves down from selection this week.
“They addressed the entire playing group on the first day back to training on Monday, apologised for their choices, and then ripped into training and really helped the guys who are stepping up to replace them.”
The Force claimed a comprehensive 28-3 bonus point victory over the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday, with Ralston scoring a try the 80th minute.
On Friday evening, Perth will host Western Australia’s first marquee sporting event since the border restrictions were lifted when the Force take on the Reds at HBF Park.
It will be the Force’s first home game since June last year, and the club’s 200th match since it was founded in 2006.
“It’s going to be a real buzz around town and certainly around the team so yeah, we can’t wait to get out there,” Force scrumhalf Ian Prior told ABC Sports this week.
“Obviously playing quality opposition as well, which makes it even better. So yeah, can’t wait.”
The Reds, who are coming off back-to-back wins against the NSW Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels, are expected to unleash Wallabies center Hunter Paisami for the first time this season.
“He’s a Wallaby, and he was in great form at the end of last year,” Reds coach Brad Thorn said of Paisami.
“He was getting managed into this season, and now we’ve got him back, he’ll add some punch.
“He’s really keen to get out there and he’s valued by the team.”