Force duo fined for discipline breaches

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Western Force pair Dane Haylett-Petty and Pek Cowan have been fined by the ARU for their involvement in alcohol-related trouble in South Africa.

It has emerged that Haylett-Petty was the previously unnamed player who urinated in the Bloemfontein hotel, as well as being involved in an altercation with brother Ross that resulted in a broken vase, which Dane paid to replace. 

The Force fullback and one of the few shining lights of last month's June Test series was fined $5000 for the offence and handed a breach notice by the ARU integrity unit.

Cowan was fined the same amount for gaining unauthorised access to a team vehicle after a 1am curfew

Cowan was already stripped of the captaincy for the remainder of the season, with natural next choice Haylett-Petty also overlooked because of the incident, a move that the governing body backed.

Adam Coleman, Francois Van Wyk and Ross Haylett-Petty were also understood to be involved in some of the disruptive activity in Cheetahs territory and broke the 1am curfew but were not handed any extra punishment.

Pek Cowan has re-signed until the end of 2018. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyARU chief operation office Rob Clarke said the punishments were decided on after a full investigation by the ARU integrity unit.

“The ARU Integrity Unit has reviewed the report provided by the Western Force on the events in South Africa last weekend and has determined that both Pek Cowan and Dane Haylett-Petty breached the code of conduct for separate and unrelated incidents at the team hotel in Bloemfontein," he said in a statement.

“On Thursday, the club took action against both players for breaching its leadership standards and we support this decision.

“Given there were breaches of the code of conduct by both players as detailed in the report from the Western Force, the ARU Integrity Unit will accordingly issue breach notices to the players in the coming days. 

"Both players assisted the club and the ARU Integrity Unit in this investigation."

The latest events are a poor punctuation mark on a horrendous year for the Force, in which they sit last on the Super Rugby log and have already seen coach Michael Foley axed for a poor record in recent seasons, after an alliance formed with the ARU.

Matt Hodgson is a fearless leader for the Force.The Bloemfontein controversy occurred under interim coach Dave Wessel's reign and with usual captain Matt Hodgson injured, few of their long-time leaders were visible.

It has been reported that Hodgson was furious when he heard news of the late-night bad behaviour, delivering a tirade at the group and accusing them of denigrating the club's culture, after a training session earlier in the week.

The Force travels to Canberra to face the Brumbies in the final regular season game.