Ioane pays price for misdeeds

Written By Unknown on Senin, 11 Maret 2013 | 23.40

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Banned ... Digby Ioane will sit out the Reds next game. Source: Mark Evans / News Limited

Past misdemeanours have come back to haunt Digby Ioane as the Queensland Reds on Monday sought to improve a flagging team culture by axing the Wallabies winger for one match.

Despite being the Reds' second best player this season, behind flanker Liam Gill, Ioane has been stood down for Saturday night's Super Rugby clash with the Western Force following an incident in a Melbourne hotel on the weekend.

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Victorian police are still investigating an alleged assault following an altercation between Ioane's older brother and another patron in a Prahran hotel on Saturday afternoon.

But the Queensland Rugby Union have been quick to act and send a strong message ahead of any police findings after being unhappy with a continued slip in standards expected at Ballymore.

"We're taking a stand at this point in time that this type of behaviour is not what we're about," said Reds director of coaching Ewen McKenzie.

"This isn't just a message to Digby but to all our players about what we think is acceptable and what isn't.

"It's irrelevant of what's going in terms of the police investigation. It's how we want to be seen in the rugby community and how our young players see our senior players."

The pub incident took place the same day Reds teammate Quade Cooper posted a picture of him, Ioane, James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale as well as Hawthorn star Lance Franklin and other bare-chested men in gangster-style poses in a spa on a Melbourne rooftop.

QRU chief executive Jim Carmichael and McKenzie were both unhappy about how it represented their code.

A role model for other young Polynesians at the Reds, Ioane's been guilty of letting his behaviour lapse before the weekend, and has persisted in playing a mug lair in public.

"There's been bits of things over the years and there's always a cumulative impact," McKenzie admitted when asked whether the 27-year-old had been guilty of other misdeeds. "But it's subtle things and we know how we want to be perceived.

"Our culture is very important to us.

"Sport is about culture as much as anything.

"There's been lots of things over time, and lots of players, and we've got to this point in time that enough's enough.

"We've taken a stand ... and this type of stuff has to stop."

Queensland normally have ample depth in their outside back division to replace the tackle-shedding Ioane against the Force but they're also missing another Wallabies flyer Dom Shipperley, who injured his back in the 23-13 win over the Melbourne Rebels, as well as Rod Davies (hamstring).

Teenager Chris Feauai-Sautia and one-cap Wallaby Luke Morahan, dropped from the 22 to play the Rebels, are now set to start on the wings.

In good news for the Reds, Wallabies halfback Will Genia will make his long-awaited return from a knee reconstruction on Saturday night and captain James Horwill (ankle) is on track to play the following week against the Bulls.

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