The Highlanders have stood down six players, including All Black Josh Ioane, from their squad to face the Crusaders this Friday for breaking team standards.
Highlanders coach Tony Brown named his 23-man squad for the fixture but at the bottom of the team sheet had listed six players – Ioane, Sione Misiloi, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Teariki Ben-Nicholas and Sio Tomkinson – as ‘unavailable’.
According to the website Stuff, there was a party at Ioane’s house this past weekend and the police were called to intervene. Coach Tony Brown has since confirmed that the players had ‘broken team code’ in an alcohol-related incident and had been dropped for the match as punishment.
‘There’s six guys who are unavailable through letting the team down around their standards; broke the code that we live by and it’s all around their professional habits,’ Brown said.
‘They just let the team down, the leaders and the whole organisation, so they won’t be available for selection.
‘They have to earn their right to get selected again so we’ll see how they go for the rest of the week at training and see how they go next week.’
Brown said he was disappointed by the situation but wouldn’t elaborate on it.
‘I’m disappointed, same as the whole organisation. They’re always sorry. We’ve moved on, they’ve moved on and we look forward to the Crusaders now.
‘Rugby’s all about opportunity and if these guys perform well, then we’ve got quite a good chance to go out there and play good footy and win the game.’
The Highlanders play the Crusaders at Orangetheory Stadium at 8:05am (SA time) on Friday.
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