Wallabies star escapes with light punishment for drunken brawl with teammates.
Melbourne Rebals star Cooper Vuna has escaped a heavy punishment after apologising to his teammates and the club for his part in a drunken brawl in South Africa.
Hours after suffering a record loss 64-7 to the Sharks in the Super 15, Vuna was involved in a fight with teammate Kurtley Beale.
The pair were sent home in disgrace with two charges of misconduct, fighting and mis-use of social media slapped on the outside back.
Vuna was remorseful for his action when questioned by the club this week and will be free to play the Western Force in Perth on April 6.
“I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment this event has caused to the club and the people I love,” Vuna told News.com.au.
“During my time with the Melbourne Rebels I have turned my life around.
“The outcome of this incident in Durban is not consistent with the values of my family, my church and my football club.
“Although I haven’t deserved the opportunity to make amends for our unacceptable performance last week, be assured if selected I will do everything possible to deliver a winning result in Perth next week.”
Beale and Vuna came to blows after an argument erupted on the team bus as it returned from Kings Park to Umhlanga with Rebels captain Gareth Delve struck by Beale as he attempted to separate the brawling Wallabies pair.
The incident was sparked, in part, by Delve’s request that Beale put his shirt back on with Vuna taking exception to Beale’s verbal attack on Delve and attempted to intervene, only to be hit by his Australian team-mate.
Beale’s fate is still yet to be decided with most expecting him to cop a stiffer penalty given his track record off-field misdemeanours.
Melbourne will be desperate to turn things around on the field this weekend and provide different headlines.
The Australian team taking on the ninth-placed Cheetahs who are currently on a three-game winning streak after beating the Highlanders, the Waratahs and the Force.
Melbourne will be out to arrest their four-game losing streak which has seem them plummet towards the bottom of the Super Rugby ladder, with only the Southern Kings and Highlanders keeping them from bottoming out.