James O'Connor has been suspended by Australia for off-field behaviour issues

Last Updated: 20/09/13 1:25pm

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James O'Connor will sit out Australia's upcoming trip

James O'Connor will sit out Australia's upcoming trip

Sky Bet

Australia back James O'Connor has been suspended from the team for an indefinite period after he was allegedly prevented from getting onto a plane because he was drunk.

The 23-year-old, who has had several prior disciplinary problems, was reportedly refused permission to board a flight to Bali, Indonesia from Perth last weekend.

He was later escorted from the terminal by police and has been dropped from the squad for an indefinite period by coach Ewen McKenzie.

The Aussies are set to leave for Rugby Championship tests in South Africa and Argentina but McKenzie says O'Connor will not be joining them because he had failed "to demonstrate and uphold the behavioural and cultural standards expected within the team".

McKenzie added: "We're not getting the right type of behaviour from him. He's let himself down at the weekend so we've stood him down and we'll move forward without him.

"We won't be forced into making any decisions around his return until I'm satisfied that he can once again contribute positively to what we are trying to achieve as a group.

"The reality is that representing your country is the ultimate honour but also a week-to-week proposition. To be selected, players must consistently do the right things on and off the field.

"We'll continue to assess James on that basis before any team decisions are made about a return."

Horwill disappointed

And Wallabies captain James Horwill told Fox Sports' Rugby HQ programme: "We're embarking on a two-week tour of South Africa and Argentina, and it is a big, big moment for this team.

"And I guess the fact that we're sitting down talking about an off-field incident, no matter who it is, is disappointing.

"The team has got strong values that we want to uphold as Wallabies and representatives of our country."

The Australian Rugby Union says they are continuing their investigation into the alleged incident involving O'Connor at Perth International Airport.

O'Connor has 44 Test caps for Australia and played at fly-half against the Lions in the summer but he is currently without a Super Rugby contract, having been released by the Melbourne Rebels.

Uncapped New South Wales Waratahs winger Peter Betham will replace him in the squad for the trip to South Africa and Argentina.

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