London: Wallabies stars Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper were not eligible for selection in Saturdays Test against England after breaking team protocol following the Wales match in Cardiff a fortnight ago.
A Wallabies spokesperson confirmed Beale and Ashley-Cooper, two of senior figures in the team, were not considered for selection because they invited three women back to their hotel in Newport, just out of Cardiff, on the night of Australias 9-6 loss to Wales.
It has emerged one of the women was Ashley-Coopers sister-in-law. The others are believed to be her friends.
The women were out of the hotel by 10.30pm but Wallabies team rules state guests are not allowed in players' rooms.
Initially Cheika wanted to keep the issue under wraps, and that was no more evident than his confusing explanation as to why Beale was not included in Wallabies matchday 23 to take on England.
Cheika became aware of the issue on Monday, some nine days after the women were brought back to the hotel.
The pair were sanctioned after the leadership group involving Michael Hooper, David Pocock, Allan Alaalatoa, Samu Kerevi and Nick Phipps decided to alert the Wallabies coach about what had happened.
Beale was not even called up as a replacement player after David Pocock was ruled out. Pete Samu will now slot into the No.8 position, with Marika Koroibete to join spare backs Nick Phipps and Sefa Naivalu on a 5-3 bench.
More to come
Tom Decent is a journalist with Fairfax Media.