Rebels coach Hill blames Beale for his sacking

Outgoing Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby coach Damien Hill says that some of his players poor behaviour off the field was “probably a major factor” in him losing his job.

Both Kurtley Beale and Cooper Vuna were both sent home from South Africa in March after a late-night altercation on the team bus following the Rebels 64-22 loss to the Sharks in Durban.

The Rebels have announced that they will not be offering James O’Connor a Super Rugby contract next season and Scott Higginbotham says that the decision was nothing to do with the Wallaby fly half’s playing ability.

Rebels team mates O’Connor and Beale angered former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans two weeks ago when they were socialising with fans at a fast foot restaraunt at 4am just days before the second Test against the Lions.

Ironically Beale made the biggest headlines this season for his behaviour and alchol related problems but as it stands only O’Connor and Hill have been told they are not wanted next season.

The outgoing coach said that he was not angry but rather disappointed that the Rebels did not reappoint him and says that he only has admiration for Beale.

“I’ve got nothing but admiration for Kurtley as a footballer and I’m proud of the way he has approached his off-field issues.

“I’m also proud of the role the club has taken in that to force his hand in a way.”

Hill said that ultimately the coach is responsible for the players behaviour.

“The behaviours of the playing group on and off the field, someone has to be held accountable and in sport that is the head coach,” Hill told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Hill will be in charge of the Rebels for the last time on Friday when they face the last placed Highlanders at AAMI Park but Beale will not be playing as he has been given time to continue his off field program in Sydney.

“I’ve got nothing but admiration for Kurtley as a footballer and I’m proud of the way he has approached his off-field issues.

“I’m also proud of the role the club has taken in that to force his hand in a way.

“I don’t think Australian rugby can afford to lose somebody of the quality of Kurtley.

“But first and foremost is going to be his ability to get himself on track when he’s not training or playing,” Hill said.

“It (the Durban incident) probably was a major factor (in my axing).”

“The behaviours of the playing group on and off the field, someone has to be held accountable and in sport that’s the head coach.”

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