If
anyone is interested in taking the professional football booze problem
seriously, the Terror‘s Jon Geddes has a story for you about setting and keeping standards: The Western Force has
dropped its best player, Scott Fava, from the starting side this week because
he failed a recovery session breathalyser.

There is no
suggestion of drunk ‘n disorderly, but Fava is copping it sweet:

“After every game
we get breath-tested and it was an oversight on my behalf. I let myself down in
a big way.”

Fava said the strong
action was part of developing a culture for the Force.

“It will also help
the young guys know this is the policy and don’t go outside it or you will be
dropped,” Fava said.

The
benching takes a little of the gloss off Fava being chosen for Australia’s
Commonwealth Games Sevens side, but there’s a fair bit of glossing-over going
on there with the naming of four Wallabies for the side.

There
was another International Rugby Board Sevens tournament over the weekend,
another mediocre Australian performance just making up the competition numbers,
but you won’t read much about that anywhere.

What
the Victorian punters might not realise is that the seven-man and 15-man games
are as different as rugby union and rugby league. (Mind you, most of the locals
probably don’t really understand that difference either.)

Parachuting
big guns Fava, Lote Tuqiri, Matt Giteau and Chris Latham out of their Super 14
sides for just one week of Sevens in Melbourne is rather like picking rugby league
players to turn up for the Wallabies on one week’s notice. It takes more time
than that to adapt and change defensive habits in particular.

Giteau
has played some serious Sevens in the past, but the other three have very
limited experience – a bit like league players who might have played a bit of
junior rugby at some stage.

The
four all have great talent, but a couple of days training with the best of the
usual Australian Sevens squad under Glen Ella is not the sort of preparation
that might make Australia a gold medal
chance. I hope I’m wrong – but it’s only hope. The Sevens will still be a
fantastic couple of days, the best of the Games, but you’d still be brave to
bet on Oz.

Three
of the four Super 14 sides are lucky with the timing of the Commonwealth Games
competition. Queensland has a bye, NSW and WA are playing each other so the
result won’t be effected, but Giteau will be missed when the ACT play Auckland
Blues that weekend.

If
anyone cares, the Australian Sevens side at the IRB Los Angeles tournament over
the weekend had one brief promising moment – drawing its pool game with New
Zealand. But they were then thrashed 26-5 by South Africa in their Cup
quarter-final and dropped out altogether by losing 19-12 to Argentina in the
consolation Plate semi. England ominously won the Cup with a comprehensive 38-5
doing of Fiji.

Peter Fray

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