Disgraced Henjak given marching orders

Former Australia scrumhalf Matt Henjak had his contract with the Western Force Super 14 side terminated on Friday, but the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) have not ruled out him returning to the game.

Henjak had been found guilty by a Western Australia Rugby Union (Rugby WA) disciplinary committee of breaking teammate Haig Sare’s jaw after punching him at a Perth hotel earlier this month.

They recommended his contract be terminated.

However, under the code of conduct rules, they needed the ARU to approve the sacking. The ARU reviewed Henjak’s case earlier this week and said on Friday they had accepted the recommendation of the committee to terminate the 26-year-old’s contract.

”In light of the serious nature of the incident …. and taking into account the prior record of Henjak, the ARU agrees with Rugby WA that contract termination as recommended by the conduct committee is a fit and proper punishment,” the ARU said in a statement.

Disgrace

ARU chief executive John O’Neill told reporters in Sydney that Henjak could one day return to the game in Australia if he straightened out his off-field behaviour.

”But for the time being there will be no opportunities for him to play professional rugby in Australia,” he added.

Local media have reported Henjak could now switch codes to the Australian National Rugby League competition, or seek a contract playing rugby union overseas.

Henjak has played four Tests for Australia after making his debut in 2004 and was considered a possible long-term replacement for George Gregan, but his career has been clouded by off-field disciplinary issues.

In 2005, he became the first Wallaby in almost 40 years to be sent home in disgrace from an international tour after a nightclub incident in Cape Town.

O’Neill, who had publicly criticised the Force for allowing Henjak to play in last weekend’s opening round of Super 14 matches, said the ARU would not stand in his way if he chose to pursue a career elsewhere.

”I think this is a very sad case and one that gives us no joy and we do wish him well with his future endeavours.” — Reuters

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