Qantas Wallabies star Kurtley Beale is back in trouble after being suspended for the second time in seven weeks for off-field misdemeanours.
The Melbourne Rebels have stood down the player from their squad to face the Blues in Auckland in Saturday’s Super Rugby game following breaches of his agreed behavioural protocols.
Beale, who can play fly-half, centre or full back, was sent home from South Africa earlier in the tournament after fighting with team mates Cooper Vuna and Gareth Delve. He was suspended from playing and was given a course of counselling.
Following Beale’s latest lapse, the Australian Rugby Union released a brief statement today confirming his omission from the Rebels' line-up.
"Beale has been found in breach of behavioural guidelines as agreed to by the ARU, Melbourne Rebels, RUPA and the player," the statement said. "The relevant parties will meet further to discuss any future course of action."
The Rebels are due to meet the British & Irish Lions for the first time on Tuesday, June 25 and interim chief executive Rob Clarke has said they won’t be banishing Beale into the wilderness.
Clarke told Australian reporters that he felt Beale was benefitting from the rehabilitation programme that had been devised for him in conjunction with the ARU after his South African bust-up and insisted that the incident didn’t involve any form of altercation.
"I think it's been a pretty comprehensive program and Kurtley acknowledges that he's seeing benefits. The key thing is that he honours the details of that program and sticks to it because it's in everybody's interest to get him in a better place,” said Clarke.
"Unfortunately there's been a small hiccup on that process and that's why we've taken the action we have.
"It is worth noting this isn't a public behavioural issue that's had an impact in public.
"This is Kurtley breaching agreed behavioural protocols between us, the ARU and him. It is an important difference."
Beale only returned to training last week, with the narrow defeat to the Chiefs at the weekend his first matchday involvement since March 23.
His performance off the bench against the champions at AAMI Park hinted at a Wallaby recall for the start of the Lions series as he crossed for a sublime individual score and created a host of opportunities for his franchise.
Rebels head coach Damien Hill said Beale 'was electric, he added so much to our attack' immediately after his comeback but has since spoken of his disappointment with the latest downturn in events.
"You can't shy away from the fact that he is one of the best footballers in the country," said Hill, who is unsure as to whether Beale has a future in Melbourne
"It's just unfortunate that the behavioural side is interfering with that at the moment. It's really disappointing.
"It's probably too early to comment on that (whether he would play for the Rebels again). Everybody wants a fit and healthy Kurtley on and off the field so he can perform.
"It's a work in progress and there's a lot more to be done."