The Queensland Reds have resigned NRL star rookie Suliasi Vunivalu for the start of the AU Super Rugby season after being accused of pushing a security guard “to an authorized location in Brisbane”.
Rugby Australia and the Queensland Rugby Union said the incident happened on January 30 and that “the matter is pending in court and will be considered by RA and QRU once it is resolved.”
In the meantime, the former Prime Minister winner of Melbourne Storm will miss Friday’s clash with NSW Waratahs in Brisbane “for discrediting the club and the game”.
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The QRU also issued Vunivalu with a formal written warning, a fine of $ 10,000 “and the club will provide Suliasi with advice and support.”
“Rugby Australia and the Queensland Rugby Union take their position in the community very seriously and aim to maintain the highest standards of behavior at all times,” the statement said.
Vunivalu also brought up the Ballymore incident this afternoon, but was limited in what he could say.
“I wanted to speak today and not hide, but I’m limited by what I can say today as the case is pending in court,” Vunivalu said.
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“I am embarrassed to be in this position and I apologize to the QRU and my teammates.
“I apologize to the fans and the rugby community, especially in Queensland. I understand the position taken by the QRU. They expect a high standard from the players and the staff.”
It’s a blow to the Reds and RA, who reportedly hoped for Vunivalu to make his Super Rugby debut after his high-profile code change.
In an interview with Wide World of Sports before the incident was revealed, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie spoke of his enthusiasm for unleashing the sporting wonder.
Vunivalu trained with the Wallabies at the end of last year but didn’t play a game.
“It’s a really good signing,” said Rennie.
“Obviously he’s a rugby player who got caught straight out of high school to go to the league and we saw what we accomplished there. It was good, we brought him in for about 10 days and he trained with us for several reasons.
“Firstly, for us to get to know him a little better and second, for him to understand our surroundings and get some take-home points to focus on during the Reds season.
“So it was really worth it. He’s a hell of an athlete, he’s a good, well-integrated man. But he has to go and perform.”
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