2 Jul 2009

Australian rugby union refuses to say why they've sacked Tuqiri

6:16 pm on 2 July 2009

Star winger Lote Tuqiri hasn't been sacked for breaking the law, but Australia rugby boss John O'Neill is refusing to say just why they've terminated his contract.

The Australian Rugby Union has cut the 67-test veteran adrift without explanation and refuse to comment further on the matter, citing legal concerns.

Tuqiri's agent says the winger has engaged lawyers and will fight the decision.

O'Neill's confirmed the decision wasn't based on a police matter, but says he personally put Tuqiri on notice two year ago for disciplinary offences.

Tuqiri was cut for two Tri-Nations matches in 2007 after he missed a medical appointment and team recovery session.

A month later he was officially warned and given a midnight curfew for the World Cup that year after a boozy night out with prop Matt Dunning.

Tuqiri, one of Australia's highest-paid players, was overlooked for matches against the Barbarians, Italy and France last month, despite being named in a 29-man squad and was an obvious omission from the Tri-Nations squad named today.

O'Neill dismissed as "ridiculous" suggestions that he had a personal agenda in sacking Tuqiri.

He also denied the player's salary, reportedly worth $700,000 a year until 2011, was a motivating factor.