Star Queensland Reds recruit Suliasi Vunivalu has been sensationally stood down from Friday’s season opening Super Rugby AU match and fined $10,000 after allegedly pushing a security guard.
The incident occurred at a licensed Brisbane venue on January 30, but the Reds were only made aware of it last week.
The former Melbourne Storm NRL premiership-winning winger was charged and will appear in court in April.
He could yet face more punishment from both the Reds and Australian Rugby Union once the matter is dealt with by the courts.
The club said the 25-year-old Fijian had brought “the club and the game into disrepute”.
Vunivalu said he was “embarrassed to be in this position”.
“I apologise to the QRU and my teammates for that,” he said on Tuesday
“I apologise to the fans and to the rugby community, especially in Queensland.
“I understand the position the QRU have taken. I look forward to the matter being resolved.”
Vunivalu will miss the Reds’ season-opening Super Rugby AU clash against NSW Waratahs on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium but will be available for selection the following week against the Rebels.
The Reds declared they would offer Vunivalu counselling and support.
“Rugby Australia and Queensland rugby take its position within the community very seriously and we need to uphold the highest of standards,” QRU CEO David Hanham said.
“Suli is new to the program. He knows that he’s let the fans down, his teammates and rugby in this state down.”
Hanham said he was disappointed he did not hear about the matter until last week.
“The earlier we know about these things the better,” he said.
“Once the matter’s heard in full, then we’ll reassess (the sanctions).”
ARU director of coaching Scott Johnson said Vunivalu’s Wallabies’ selection hopes would not be affected by what he described as a “minor incident”.
Vunivalu: ‘I’m embarrassed to be in this position and I apologise to the Queensland Reds and my teammates for that. I’m proud to be part of the Reds and Rugby Australia”.
Rugby Australia DOR Scott Johnson with his hand covering his head. pic.twitter.com/tLmh47lr4W
Vunivalu made the switch to rugby after last year’s NRL premiership victory with Melbourne Storm and even trained with the Wallabies in December.
The Fijian international played 111 games for Storm, including grand final wins in 2017 and last year and his signing was hailed as a massive coup for the 15-man code.
Source: Read Full Article