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Aussie Rugby Stars in Hotel Brawl

Quade Cooper (left) & Kurtley Beale (right)Wallabies stars Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale were embroiled in a brawl at Brisbane’s Victory Hotel at 2am on Friday. It’s believed that the teammates were celebrating Cooper’s resigning with Queensland at the time of the incident, which is now being investigated by police.

Cooper (24) and Beale (23) were reported to have gone out on the town on Thursday night to celebrate, and it’s understood the pair were involved in an altercation with Victory Hotel security staff. Police were called to the scene, but no arrests were made, nor have any charges been set. Sources have refused to confirm or deny reports that Beale hit a security guard and that Cooper broke a witness’s mobile phone as they were filming the incident.

David Curry, the manager of Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group Queensland, which owns the Victory Hotel, says he was aware of the incident. However, this as a minor incident as far as he’s concerned, and he won’t comment any further.

However, authorities are still investigating the brawl, and several hotel staff were interviewed, while CCTV footage of the incident was being reviewed. An investigation is also being conducted by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU), and the rugby stars could be faced with fines and/or suspensions as disciplinary action. A spokesman said that they have been notified of the incident and are still making enquiries. The issue will be referred to a disciplinary review procedure as a matter of process, he added.

The immediate futures of both Cooper and Beale have been thrown into question due to the hotel brawl. Cooper’s hamstring and Beale’s shoulder had been previously injured, and although the incident isn’t expected to directly impact the Wallabies’ match against Six Nations champions Wales this Saturday, it’s due to be an unwanted distraction.

The outcome of the police and ARU investigations may determine when the pair are cleared to play for the Wallabies and/or their Super Rugby teams again. Even if the police don’t take action, the ARU disciplines players who are out late at night, drinking and getting in fights while they are rehabilitating from injuries.

Cooper and Beale have a growing list of off-field incidents, and along with James O’Connor (who is also injured), they are known as The Three Amigos. In 2007, Beale was fined for driving without a licence while still a teen and for being under the influence at the time. In late 2009, Cooper was charged with stealing a laptop, but the charges were dropped after he made a compensation payment.

In 2010, Cooper, Beale and O’Connor were accused of being involved in a brawl outside of a Paris restaurant; however, an ARU investigation didn’t find any evidence of the misbehaviour. Then earlier this year, Cooper, Beale and Danny Cipriani (former England and Rebels five-eighth) were in a Melbourne car accident.

As far as the Wallabies go, coach Robbie Deans had ruled out Cooper in the Tests against Wales and Scotland due to his hamstring injury. However, he had hoped Beale would return for the match against Wales. The team is playing their fifth-choice five-eighth Berrick Barnes in the Test – as Cooper, Beale, O’Connor and Christian Lealiifano are all injured – and Deans had hoped to have Beale back before the end of the series. Now there’s doubt about when he will next be free to play.

 

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