SYDNEY (AFP) – Troubled Australia back Kurtley Beale has been issued with a last-chance warning after receiving a further fine arising from a mid-flight row with team officials, the Australian Rugby Union said Friday.
Beale was fined Aus$3,000 (US$2,650) for being rude and disrespectful to Wallaby team management on a flight from South Africa to Argentina last month.
The sanction comes a week after Beale was slapped with a Aus$45,000 penalty for sending an offensive text message to team business manager Di Patston.
The Beale affair has been damaging to Australian rugby, with Ewen McKenzie abruptly quitting as coach after speculation over internal dissent and his relationship with Patston.
Patston also resigned, citing stress, and she later said the controversy had driven her to contemplate suicide.
Michael Cheika was rushed in to replace McKenzie before the Wallabies departed for their European tour and he will take charge of his first game for Australia when they face the Barbarians in London on Saturday.
ARU chief Bill Pulver, himself under pressure for his handling of the saga, said his organisation would resume contract negotiations with Beale and hoped the fallen star would return to being “a wonderful asset to our game”.
But he sounded a warning that Beale, who previously wrestled with alcohol problems, was on notice for the final time.
“He’s had a lot of chances and I’m pretty certain Kurtley is going to be very focused on behaviours that are consistent with our core values,” Pulver told reporters.
“The Kurtley Beale I want in Australian rugby is the one who has excited rugby fans for many years, just a great indigenous rugby player and important part of the fabric of our game.”