Australia pivot Quade Cooper has received a three-match suspended ban and fined $40,000 for his criticism of the Wallabies.Cooper, 24, made headlines last month when he lashed out on social media at the "toxic" environment within the national squad and the defensive style of coach Robbie Deans, also stoking speculation he would defect to rugby league.
He repeated his grievances on a television programme less than a week later, saying he did not want to be involved with the Wallabies under the current regime because it was "destroying" him as a player and a person.
Cooper, currently sidelined with a knee injury, was hauled before an Australian Rugby Union (ARU) disciplinary hearing on Wednesday to explain himself and slapped with a fine and a ban.
The three-match ban was suspended as was $20,000 of the $60,000 fine on the proviso that Cooper be of good behaviour for the next two years - meaning he will be available for national selection once he recovers from his knee injury.
The Reds playmaker was contrite.
"I fell below par of what it is to be a Wallaby. I apologise," Cooper said after the ruling.
"It was a very fair hearing. The punishment that was handed down to me, I have full respect for.
"I look forward to having a big year, not only with my state but with the Wallabies."
Quade Cooper is a loose cannon trying to make his mark in a team environment. Sure, there's always room for extroverted individuals in a team, but the team is always bigger than any one player.
Cooper's big mistake was to try and have Wallabies coach Robbie Deans undermined in the public domain. In hindsight, he should have sought advice from those associated with the ACT Brumbies in days gone by where unpopular coaches were removed far more furtively.
Once Quade Cooper was on a collision course with the ARU it was inevitable that he would be the loser and so it has come to pass. There must no be real doubts over whether he will play for Australia again under Robbie Deans. And far from leading an anti-Deans result, he's probably strengthened Deans' tenure of the Wallaby coaching role.
The Wallaby team touring the UK in a few weeks will be a far happier crew without Cooper making mischief, and putting his own ambitions ahead of those of the team. There's an old saying in business that applies equally to team sports, and it's one that Cooper should take heed of:
The boss may not always be right, but he's always the boss