By Jess Fagan.
Troubled Wallabies star Kurtley Beale’s Australian rugby career is in doubt after it was revealed he sent crude text messages about former business manager, Di Patston.
A text message exchange between Beale and Patston has been leaked to the media.
It suggests Beale accidently sent Patston two humiliating messages that made reference to her, and then showed remorse and begged for the business manager’s forgiveness.
Patston reportedly agreed not to tell coach Ewan McKenzie or the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) about the messages, after the pair met face to face to talk things through.
However, the ARU became aware of the offensive messages last week when it began an investigation into a spat between Patston and Beale on an overseas flight from South Africa to Brazil.
McKenzie claims he didn’t know about the messages until the in-flight argument, but Beale’s agent, Isaac Moses, says the coach and the player spoke about the texts shortly after they were sent, back in June.
Beale has been stood down from the Wallabies and will face an ARU conduct committee. His contract with Australian rugby could be terminated.
The incident has generated talk of much bigger issues within the Australian camp. Ewan McKenzie has been forced to deny rumours of a personal relationship with Patston and there are claims that the coach has lost the support of his players, with many voicing their desire for Beale to remain part of the squad.
There have even been reports that the ARU is already scouting potential replacements for McKenzie, including successful NSW Waratahs coach, Michael Cheika.
Meanwhile, Patston resigned from her role on Friday due to the stress caused by the issue.
Aside from the distress that the whole affair has had on those involved, it is simply an unwelcome distraction for the Wallabies, who are trying to prepare to take on New Zealand in a Bledisloe Cup clash on Saturday.
The team have had some disappointing results of late, including a 21-17 loss to Argentina in the Rugby Championship.
Christian Leali’ifano has been called into the side in the wake of Beale’s suspension and because of an injury to Matt Toomua.
Quade Cooper is also set to make his return to Test rugby after being named on the bench. Cooper could provide some much needed experience, despite the fact he hasn’t played a Test for the Wallabies since last year.
Image courtesy of Zimbio, Chris Hyde/Getty Images AsiaPac