Australia have suspended six players for one match for drinking in midweek before Saturday’s win over Ireland and warned nine more.
Wallabies coach Ewan McKenzie acted after “a group of players made the decision to stay out late and consume inappropriate levels of alcohol”.
He said Australia’s “ethical conduct” standards had been compromised and “I am disappointed on a personal level, but firm action is the best outcome ”
The banned six are Adam Ashley Cooper, Nick Cummins, Liam Gill, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson and Paddy Ryan.
Winger Cummins was among the try scorers in the 32-15 win over Ireland while fellow wing Ashley Cooper was also in the starting XV. Prop Ryan came off the bench with 15 minutes remaining while hooker Polota-Nau, prop Robinson and flanker Gill were unused replacements.
Apart from Ryan, they will all miss the game against Scotland on Saturday.
International Rugby Board regulations state that a team’s 23-man match squad must contain four props so tight-head Ryan will serve his suspension in the game against Wales in a fortnight.
Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Fainga’a, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps have received written warnings after the night out, which stretched into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Scott Fardy, Mike Harris, Ben McCalman and Nic White have been given verbal reprimands.
“Let’s be clear – these are internal sanctions and aren’t a result of any complaints or reports of inappropriate or sinister behaviour while our players were out. Instead, we have chosen to address an issue that has come up internally and we are now being upfront about it,” explained McKenzie.
“We’ve done this because we need to continually reinforce the need for our players to make smart decisions to benefit the team.”
McKenzie is aware the bans will leave his team short of options against Scotland at Murrayfield, but he believes a tough stance is necessary to send out a message.
“There is no doubt having talented players unavailable will put this team under significant pressure but we won’t be using this situation as an excuse,” he said.
“I am disappointed on a personal level, but firm action is the best outcome when presented with a scenario like this.
“The players involved have accepted the outcomes and we’ll concentrate on moving on and making the best of the situation. Our entire focus remains on beating Scotland.”
Who is in trouble?
Banned for one match: Adam Ashley Cooper, Nick Cummins, Liam Gill, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson and Paddy Ryan
Written warning: Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Saia Fainga’a, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps
Verbal warning: Scott Fardy, Mike Harris, Ben McCalman and Nic White