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Rugby-Wallabies hooker Latu convicted of drink driving, fined

Reuters | Canberra | Updated: 14-06-2019 13:04 IST | Created: 14-06-2019 12:15 IST
Rugby-Wallabies hooker Latu convicted of drink driving, fined
Image Credit: Flickr

Wallabies hooker Tolu Latu has been referred to Rugby Australia's integrity unit after he was convicted of charges related to a drink driving incident last month. The 12-test rake pleaded guilty to drink driving without a valid licence in a Sydney court earlier this month and was sentenced on Friday.

He was suspended from driving for three months on each charge and fined A$1,300 ($900), his Super Rugby team the New South Wales Waratahs said. "Now that court proceedings have concluded, the matter is with the Rugby Australia Integrity Unit for consideration of appropriate action under the Professional Players Code of Conduct," the Waratahs said in a statement.

Latu was charged by police after he was found asleep at the wheel with a suspended driver's license at an intersection in Sydney's eastern suburbs on the early hours of May 16. Police said in evidence tendered at Sydney's Downing Centre court that he had passed out at the wheel while his car was stopped at a red light, local media reported.

The car had rolled forward through the intersection while Latu was asleep, prompting passersby to get in to stop it. They were unable to wake him and called police and paramedics, local media said, citing the court. When police arrived, Latu was finally roused and was described as "well intoxicated", with "extremely slurred speech" and having no knowledge of his whereabouts.

The court heard Latu had been dealing with personal issues, including the breakdown of a six-year relationship and the death of his uncle two months prior, Fairfax media said. "Really bad things could have happened," magistrate Daniel Covington told Latu in comments published by local broadcaster Network Ten.

"Thankfully, you were caught... Go away and think about it and speak to others." Hours after his brush with the police, Latu went to morning training with the Waratahs but did not tell the Super Rugby team what had happened.

He was later stood down for two matches after the Waratahs found out about the incident when contacted for comment by a Sydney newspaper. "Everyone at NSW Rugby Union is extremely disappointed with Tolu's actions, but it's pleasing to see he's taking steps to address this behaviour through education and counselling," Waratahs Chief Executive Andrew Hore said.

Tonga-born Latu had only returned from a six-week suspension for a reckless challenge in Super Rugby when the charge was reported.


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