‘Embarrassed’ Reds recruit from NRL stood down after nightclub incident

Queensland Reds recruit and aspiring Wallaby Suliasi Vunivalu has been stood down from Friday’s Super Rugby AU opener and fined $10,000 after being charged with allegedly pushing a security guard in Brisbane.

The former Melbourne Storm winger, who won an NRL premiership last year, won’t take part in his side’s clash with the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium following the incident, which is being investigated by police.

Suliasi Vunivalu training with Reds.

Rugby Australia and the Queensland Rugby Union put out a statement on Tuesday afternoon saying they were aware of an incident involving Vunivalu on January 30.

“Vunivalu has been charged with allegedly pushing a security guard at a licensed venue in Brisbane,” the QRU statement read. “The matter is ongoing before the court and will be reviewed by RA and QRU once it is resolved.”

The QRU has stood down Vunivalu for “bringing the club and the game into disrepute”. The 25-year-old has been issued a formal warning and fined $10,000.

“Rugby Australia and the Queensland Rugby Union takes its position within the community very seriously and aims to uphold the highest standards of behaviour at all times,” the statement reads.

’I am embarrassed to be in this position and I apologise to the QRU and my teammates.

Vunivalu also addressed the incident.

“I wanted to speak today and not hide away but I am constrained with what I can say today as the matter in ongoing before the court,” he said. “I am embarrassed to be in this position and I apologise to the QRU and my teammates.

“I apologise to the fans and the rugby community, especially in Queensland. I understand the position the QRU have taken. They expect a high standard from players and staff.”

Vunivalu played for the Reds in a trial match six days after the incident. Speaking before the game, Vunivalu said he was excited to get a start at the club after making a high-profile switch from the 13-man code.

He was invited to train with the Wallabies last year but did not play a Test.

“I get more licence now in union,” Vunivalu told the Herald this month. “I can kick and do whatever stuff because we get unlimited ball. Whereas league you just carry it up-down the sideline. That’s an advantage for me. I get to get my hands more on the ball and come in off the wing.

“I just can’t wait to get in there tomorrow and dust some rust off and play some rugby.”

More to come

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