Western Force scrum-half Matt Henjak will travel with the team to South Africa and start against the Sharks in Friday’s Super 14 opener in Durban despite facing a club disciplinary following an incident which left team-mate Haig Sare with a broken jaw.
Sare faces six weeks on the sidelines with the injury after the pair reportedly came to blows at a restaurant on Sunday.
Disciplinary action against Australia international Henjak will not be taken by the club until the squad returns from South Africa.
In the meantime, coach John Mitchell has confirmed he will retain Henjak in his starting line-up on Friday.
"Yes, Matt Henjak will start against the Sharks," Mitchell said.
"He deserves his selection based on performance and pre-season work and the team has put an enormous amount of effort into this season ahead of this first fixture, so it would be unfair on everyone if we didn’t select the best team.
"We’ve made the decision based on what is best for the team.
"The serious misconduct disciplinary hearing will deal with that situation when it arises.
"We will deal with Matty Henjak and Haig Sare on our return. All I’m interested in is the team performance going into the match against the Sharks."
An alcohol ban might now be considered to prevent a repeat of the altercation, but Mitchell will not be involved in that decision.
He said: "It’s not up to me, it’s up to the serious conduct committee to work out if we need to change anything and that’s the chairman and CEO that deal with those matters.
"We have an in-house protocol, which is zero alcohol in preparation and not over the driving limit post-recovery.
"It happened on a free day, so it wasn’t a preparation day.
"They are adults and in a team sport you appreciate people’s differences, but on this occasion they sorted out their different points of view in a way we don’t approve, which is unfortunate."
Mitchell is confident the incident will not have an impact on the performance against the Sharks after a strong pre-season and trial match campaign.
"Adversity tends to tighten groups from time to time, so this could be good for us in the long run," he said.
"It’s not a distraction at all, as far as I’m concerned. I’m focusing on football and so is the team. Yesterday, the leaders spoke about the situation and we’re now getting on with our preparation.
"All of our focus is on the Sharks and we are in a pretty good space going into it. We are looking forward to this tour, are excited about getting to South Africa and getting on with it. Our preparation on-field this week has been very good."