Deans backs ARU

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has fully endorsed the Australian Rugby Union for sacking Lote Tuqiri.

Tuqiri, who had not been selected for any of the Wallabies’ Tests against Italy and France, had his ARU contract terminated last week after breaching team protocol in a hotel-related incident.

‘I want to make clear that I was consulted during the process and I completely support the ARU’s decision,’ Deans told the Sydney Morning Herald. ‘I also fully support [ARU chief] John O’Neill’s leadership on this issue.

‘Obviously, I am unable to discuss Lote’s actual termination but I have been concerned by how some have seized on this issue and may have attempted to use this to their advantage.’

In his newspaper column on Sunday, Tuqiri said he was ‘still in a state of shock’ after receiving a call from the ARU last Monday.

‘My world was turned upside down,’ Tuqiri wrote. ‘And I didn’t see it coming.’

He said that due to ‘legal issues’ he could not comment on the specific reasons why he was sacked.

‘I haven’t shed any tears but I don’t think what’s happened has really sunk in yet. I don’t know what my future holds,’ Tuqiri said. ‘What I can say is that I am devastated.’