Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Wallabies' burger boys should cash in some of their chips


You could question Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor about a lot of things.

• What were they thinking being out at 4am midway through a momentous test week?

• What had they been doing in the hours between the end of the Lions midweek game with the Rebels and their happy snap?

• Who decided on Hungry Jack's, was it the only joint open?

• Who conducted the fluffy ARU investigation into the incident?

• Did the pair pay for their grub?

• Why did they pose for the picture?

• Did they ask for fries?

These likely lads are no strangers to controversy and, at the very least, should be cashing in some of their chips. The only way to make many of these guys understand is through their wallets.

The All Blacks are not immune. Cory Jane and Israel Dagg were out on the sauce in a Takapuna bar days short of their World Cup quarter-final in 2011.

Patrons described how the pair were wurring their slurds while Jane lit up in a no smoking zone.

The pair received some in-house punishment in much the way the Wallabies want to deal with O'Connor and Beale.

No one wants to inhibit international rugby players, their lives are restricted or in the goldfish bowl glare far too much.

But there are times when a bit of common sense would go further than one of O'Connor's punts.

Even if they were starting a day off, it would have been more prudent for the Wallaby duo to have knocked their nightlife on the head earlier. Either that or stayed within the confines of their Melbourne hotel or one of the pair's flats in Melbourne.

This incident settles in the stupidity section. It was not a crime, not a flouting of alcohol rules we were assured, just silly.

Both are fine players with lengthy social misdemeanour lists.

Whenever the Australian media reports on some Wallaby indiscretion it's a fair bet the surnames Beale or O'Connor will be in the same sentence.

Wallaby rugby cannot afford to cut the duo, the nation's lean list of talent would not cope. They know it, too.

They should be hit where it hurts, right in the wallet.

New CEO Bill Pulver should have clauses inserted in players' contracts to fine them substantial amounts when they misbehave.

If O'Connor and Beale create this sort of ruckus through their selfish attitudes, fine them heavily and give the money to their more responsible teammates.

- NZ Herald

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Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

The latest commentary and analysis from senior rugby writer Wynne Gray. Wynne has been covering the All Blacks for more than 27 years and has attended more than 230 All Blacks tests live for the Herald.

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