Beale Could Face Further Punishment

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The Wallabies back was cleared to play for Australia again last Friday after being fined A$45,000 at a Code of Conduct tribunal for sending an obscene message to the same female member of staff, Di Patston.

New Wallabies coach Michael Cheika decided not to immediately fly the 25-year-old to Britain for the four-Test tour of Europe but, assistant coach Nathan Grey told reporters in London on Monday, that he would be considered once he is fit.

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Beale, who has missed Australia’s last two Tests, is back in intensive training at the New South Wales Waratahs headquarters in Sydney.

He still faces the possibility of further punishment, though, after the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) “integrity investigation” – an in-house disciplinary process as opposed to last week’s independent Code of Conduct Tribunal.

The ARU expects the investigation to be finalised this week.

Beale’s friend and fellow back James O’Connor had his ARU contract torn up last year after a similar hearing into an incident where he was escorted from Perth Airport by police.

It was the row with Patston on the flight to Sao Paulo, triggered by Beale being asked to change his T-shirt, that set in motion the chain of events that led to the offensive text messages coming to the attention of the ARU.

As much as the ARU would love to draw a big, thick line underneath it, the text message scandal shows no sign of fading away any time soon.

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The comparative lenience of his punishment – few doubt that in most other workplaces in Australia he would have been dismissed – was the result of the tribunal failing to find convincing evidence that Beale had sent a second, more offensive, message.

Exactly who sent the “second text” has become the subject of heated conjecture for both Beale’s backers in the media and those who have backed his sacking.

After a month of turmoil which has cost them a highly respected head coach in Ewen McKenzie and a considerable amount of credibility, however, the ARU looks unlikely to pursue the matter.

“If new, relevant information comes to light, we’ll investigate that information,” an ARU spokeswoman said.

Beale, who is out of contract at the end of the year, might yet decide to cut his losses and pick up a lucrative contract in rugby league.

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