Aussies drank €1500 of booze on Dublin night out
November 21, 2013
James Horwill denies the Wallabies tour group is fracturing © Getty Images
Australia's players enjoyed more than a few beers during their night out in Dublin ahead of the Ireland Test, with reports suggesting they drank €1500 ($A2200) worth of free alcohol in four-and-a-half hours at a Dublin bar
"They had a mix of everything, I would say it was worth about €1500" bar owner Rangan Arulchelvan told The Daily Telegraph. "We like to look after international teams. We've had the England and Ireland rugby teams in here, the All Blacks, the Australian cricketers - Ricky Ponting has come here.
"There were eight or nine players. I was here myself on that night and they behaved well. They came in at about 11pm and were here until 3.30am. People came up and took photos with them and wanted autographs signed throughout the night, and the players were friendly; they posed for photos and signed everything."
Arulchelvan said the bar usually closed its VIP section on Tuesday night but he opened the private penthouse area, where celebrity guests are showered with free booze, when the Wallabies arrived.
Ewen McKenzie suspended six players and cautioned a further nine after learning of the night out, for breaching team protocols, but he has not revealed how he learned that some of his squad members returned to the team hotel around 4am - leading to reports and conjecture that he was tipped off by players who had not gone out or who had returned earlier.
James Horwill rejected that speculation, saying "I can't see that anyone has dobbed anyone in from my knowledge … that is taking a fair stretch to assume that. And I wouldn't say there's any factions either. We're about winning games and playing for your country. It's a very tight group and a group that enjoy each others' company.
"We've spent a lot of time together since August. We've pretty much spent more time with each other than anyone else in our lives. The team, I think, gets along really well. There's no issues, it's a very tight group, it's been a group I enjoy being a part of.
"You enjoy the success, and you need to stick tight when things aren't as good, and that's what we're doing now and we support everyone in the group. There's no fractions or anything like that, it's about the team first."
McKenzie has made it clear he will not tolerate habits that may hinder the performance of players, and he has now imposed both a booze ban for all days except after the match and a strict midnight curfew.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Proposals to remove promotion and relegation from the Aviva Premiership would be for the good of the game overall, argues John Taylor
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery