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Qantas Wallabies Head Coach Ewen McKenzie has stood down winger James O’Connor for failing to demonstrate and uphold the behavioural and cultural standards expected within the team.
O’Connor will not join his teammates when they assemble in Sydney tomorrow ahead of their two-game tour of South Africa and Argentina.
McKenzie said no timeframe was being placed on his selection availability.
“We won’t be forced into making any decisions around his return until I’m satisfied that he can once again contribute positively to what we are trying to achieve as a group,” McKenzie said.
“The reality is that representing your country is the ultimate honour but also a week-to-week proposition. To be selected, players must consistently do the right things on and off the field.
“We’ll continue to assess James on that basis before any team decisions are made about a return.”
In addition, the Australian Rugby Union is continuing its investigation into an alleged incident involving James O’Connor at Perth International Airport in the early hours of Sunday 15 September.
Once completed, a decision on the next course of action will be taken.
“My views and expectations around team culture and behaviours, along with those of his teammates, are extremely clear and it’s important for the Qantas Wallabies and Rugby in general to be spoken about positively for the right reasons,” he said.
“James and I had a long conversation around those expectations before the tournament commenced.
“As a result, and separate to the outcomes of the current investigation, James will not be joining us in Sydney tomorrow.
“We must put the team first without any distractions hindering them during a really tough two-game tour.”
NSW Waratahs winger Peter Betham will replace O’Connor in the Qantas Wallabies 28-man playing squad.