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Union Sanctions Cowan

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

1 July 2008 - The New Zealand Rugby Union today demanded halfback Jimmy Cowan stop drinking as a condition of his ongoing employment.

The All Black was also fined and ordered to seek alcohol counselling after three charges have been laid for disorderly behaviour in recent weeks.

All Blacks Manager Darren Shand said the NZRU considered a range of penalties and determined that addressing Cowan's alcohol abuse was the most relevant action: "Jimmy must change his behaviour if he wants to be a professional rugby player in New Zealand. We have made it a condition of his employment that he stop drinking altogether. This is his last chance."

"We take the matter very seriously and considered other penalties. However, in light of Jimmy's willingness to acknowledge his problem and seek help for it we decided that what was most important that we address the problem openly and deal with it rather than pushing it to one side."

In addition to the alcohol ban, Cowan was fined $3000 and ordered to seek alcohol counselling. Cowan's compliance with all conditions of the agreement reached today will be monitored by the NZRU with formal reviews scheduled periodically.

The halfback remains with the All Blacks squad and will be the reserve halfback for Saturday's Philips Tri Nations Test against South Africa in Wellington.

The NZRU typically waits until after court proceedings before considering misconduct hearings for contracted players, however, the Union intervened after Cowan's second charge on Sunday. "The repeated incidents in a short period of time just reinforce our decision to take urgent action," said Shand.

Cowan has been charged three times for disorderly behaviour between April and June. The latest charge was laid today by Dunedin police.

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