We know that Australia’s cricketers have a history of sharing information with bookmakers for money (when they’re not using sandpaper), but now it’s the Wallabies rugby team that is under the microscope.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “Rugby Australia will be contacted by high-ranking sporting officials”, who are concerned about what went down in a Wallabies match several years ago.
Good luck going through their results and picking out the loss, because they’ve made a habit of it in recent years, but let’s get more on what the officials think smells fishy:
The officials have serious doubts about the behaviour of at least three Wallabies players – all of whom still have considerable links to Australian Rugby – either in an on- or off-field capacity.
It involves a match Australia was strongly favoured to win. The opposition were at highly attractive odds with several betting agencies. The Wallabies lost the match following numerous strange incidents, including dubious forward passes, easy tackles being missed, confounding knock-ons and easy midfield kicks going nowhere near their target.
Still sounds like a standard day out for the Wallabies, but OK.
Here’s the kicker:
Adding to the concerns was rugby officials had been aware for some time of close links between several players and a controversial horse racing identity. They were also understood to be friends with a SP bookmaker. The players were sighted – individually or as a group – with either the racing identity or the SP bookie on numerous occasions both in Australia and overseas. One experienced player, who had financial issues, appeared to be “the ring-leader”…
One of the concerned officials told Ruck & Maul this week: “This issue has to again be looked into. Our suspicions were originally raised due to the very strange mistakes made by usually reliable Australian players during that game. Some errors are glaring. It’s like watching Tiger Woods miss a two-inch putt, over and over again. Very odd.”
Ruck & Maul was told by RA sources that Wallaby teammates were also concerned with the behaviour of several members of this group following several “sordid” late night incidents.
Please let it be Kurtley Beale. I would guess it was to pay off all his debts to cocaine dealers.
Also, there’s no way the errors could have been as glaring as this cricket match in the UAE.
As rumours swirl, Michael Hooper, the incumbent Wallabies captain, has denied any involvement, saying he is shocked to learn of the claims.
Below from Fox Sports:
[He] said he personally — plus his teammates — had never given anything less than their best efforts while wearing the gold jumper.
“You can’t give more than a 100 (per cent),” Hooper said on Friday.
“That’s the way I’m built and the guys I’ve played with have all been cut from the same cloth and I can speak on behalf of the guys I’ve played with for sure.”
The sport’s ruling body, Rugby Australia, has also come out swinging with a strongly-worded statement.
This from Sport24:
“A headline attached to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald today suggested Rugby Australia had investigated a Wallabies Test match ‘from several years ago’ in relation to the possibility of match fixing,” it said in a statement.
“Rugby Australia wishes to confirm it has seen no evidence in regards to inappropriate betting activity or match-fixing and has no record of any such investigation occurring in the past.
“Rugby Australia takes any allegation of match-fixing very seriously and would always thoroughly investigate should any person or entity ever provide information to the Integrity Unit,” it added.
All we can hope now is that someone lets slip which match is being looked at, so that we can rewatch it and pick out those “glaring” errors.
That will be about the only time it’s worth paying close attention to an Ozzie rugby match.
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