Sport

McKenzie's evidence the missing link in case

Former Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.
Former Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie. AAP Image - Dave Hunt

THERE is more to Ewen McKenzie's resignation as Wallabies coach than he or ARU CEO Bill Pulver is letting on.

My guess is it all comes back to McKenzie's version of events about the Kurtley Beale-Di Patston saga.

More specifically, when McKenzie knew about Beale having sent offensive texts about former team official Patston.

McKenzie says he informed the ARU only after the barney Beale and Patston had on the plane to Argentina - which was over the shirt he was wearing, of all things.

But Beale's manager said McKenzie knew about it soon after the original incident in June.

Player managers have a reputation for being about as trustworthy as brown snakes.

But in this case, why would he have said it if it weren't true?

If it came down to Beale's word versus McKenzie's surely the ARU would back the coach over a player with a proven track record for bad behaviour. Perhaps it is no coincidence McKenzie's resignation came the week before he was due to give evidence in the Beale case, where he would have been cross-examined.

If he was shown to have lied, it would have cost him his job anyway, so maybe he followed the path of least resistance.

If McKenzie is being honest in his account then the ARU carries the blame for the current mess.

They let the situation reach the point of no return.

Pulver blamed the media for McKenzie's resignation.

But if the ARU had heard the Beale case immediately, instead of the three weeks it will be when Beale has his hearing on Friday, we would still have a coach (unless McKenzie was lying).

We could have had McKenzie and Patston's testimony and got to the bottom of the situation. Now we have a trial without the victim and number one witness to testify.

So how can Beale, who has already been punished by missing two tests and presumably four more on the Wallabies tour of the UK (missing $60,000 in match payments), have a fair hearing?

The ARU, under Pulver's directionless leadership, must be held accountable.

Topics:  jay buchan opinion passing the buck