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O'Connor suspended for indiscretion

Australia utility James O'Connor has been axed for Saturday's Tri-Nations decider against New Zealand for his no-show at Thursday's World Cup squad announcement.

The 21-year-old, who was allegedly spotted at two popular Sydney bars on Wednesday night, failed to report for an official team photo at the team's Coogee hotel the following morning and also missed the official ceremony at Sydney airport.

O'Connor issued a private apology to his team-mates on Sunday before fronting the media to express his remorse.

But his contrition was not enough to avoid missing out on the biggest match of his 30-Test career, with the Wallabies set to claim their first Tri-Nations title since 2001 should they defeat the All Blacks in Brisbane.

He has officially been suspended until August 28, meaning he will be available for selection for the Wallabies' World Cup opener against Italy on September 11, and also handed a suspended Australian dollars 10,000 fine which will remain in place until December 31, 2012.

The ARU said in a statement: "The 21-year-old was asked to provide ARU with an explanation as to his non-attendance last Thursday. A response was received earlier today and considered, after which a decision was taken to suspend and fine O'Connor for his indiscretion."

O'Connor's absence is a major blow for the Wallabies given the in-from right winger is also the side's first-choice goal-kicker.

Quade Cooper is likely to assume the kicking duties, while it is unclear how coach Robbie Deans will reshuffle his backline.


From Belfast Telegraph