THE chances of Wallabies playmaker Kurtley Beale switching to rugby league have increased significantly after he was stood down by the Australian Rugby Union for sending offensive text messages about an ARU staff member.
Beale (pictured) was already being investigated after an in-flight incident between him and three members of the Wallabies' management team on a September 28 flight from South Africa to Brazil, ahead of Australia's Rugby Championship match against Argentina.
ARU boss Bill Pulver announced yesterday that in the course of that investigation, additional information was raised about previous inappropriate behaviour by Beale in June.
"This matter relates to Kurtley Beale allegedly distributing what we consider highly inappropriate and deeply offensive text messages and images to a number of people in June, referencing an ARU staff member," Pulver said.
He also said the messages were inadvertently sent to the employee concerned, and due to their serious nature, would be assessed by an independent Code of Conduct tribunal.
"We believe an independent tribunal is the appropriate forum for these allegations to be considered. This also provides Kurtley with an opportunity to present his response to the matter through an impartial process," Pulver said.
"The investigation into the argument on the plane has become a secondary matter in recent days. We will finalise the investigation into the in-flight argument in due course."