New Zealand All Blacks Rugby News

All Black Cowan given choice betwen Booze and Career

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All Black scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan was ordered to give up drinking alcohol Tuesday or lose his contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union.


The NZRU also ordered him to get counselling for alcohol abuse after facing three drinking-related disorderly behaviour charges in the past three months.


However, the 26-year-old was confirmed as reserve scrumhalf for the opening Tri-Nations series Test against South Africa in Wellington on Saturday after the team was named earlier Tuesday with the number 20 position left blank.


“Jimmy must change his behaviour if he wants to be a professional rugby player in New Zealand,” All Blacks manager Darren Shand said.


“We have made it a condition of his employment that he stop drinking altogether. This is his last chance.”

 

Shand said other penalties had been considered but these were dismissed because Cowan had acknowledged his problem and would seek help for it.

Cowan was also fined 3,000 dollars (2300 US) and his compliance with the non-drinking order will be closely monitored by the NZRU.


The Otago Highlanders star, who has played 10 Tests since his debut in 2004, spent 3-1/2 hours at a disciplinary hearing at the NZRU headquarters in Wellington on Tuesday.


“I’m very fortunate to be given another chance. This is my problem and nobody else’s and I’m taking steps to fix it,” Cowan told reporters afterwards.


The NZRU said police in the South Island city of Dunedin had charged Cowan with disorderly behaviour on Wednesday. The details of the charge were not immediately known.


He was charged separately on Sunday in the southern city of Invercargill after a confrontation with a bouncer at a bar after facing a similar charge over an incident at a bar in Dunedin in May.


In 2005, the NZRU suspended Cowan for a week when he was sent home early from a Junior All Blacks trip to Australia following an incident in a Brisbane bar.


The NZRU said it usually waited to take action after a player appeared before a court but Cowan’s case was unusual.


“The repeated incidents in a short period of time just reinforce our decision to take urgent action,” Shand said.


Sapa-AFP – Rugbyweek.com

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