Officials are deeply unhappy with the behaviour of their problem child
The Australian Rugby Union has been dragged into the latest embarrassing off-field incident involving errant Wallaby utility back Kurtley Beale.
This follows after two Rebels players, Beale and Cooper Vuna, were sent home from the South African tour and returned to Australia on separate flights on Monday.
The Rebels management confirmed that an altercation took place between the two players on the team bus Saturday night, after the Rebels suffered a humiliating 7-64 loss to the Sharks earlier that day.
Rebels CEO Steven Boland confirmed that the ARU are also involved in the disciplinary process, as both Beale and Vuna are contracted Wallabies.
According reports the ARU and Rebels officials are currently deciding who will head the disciplinary process into the incident.
However, it has already been suggested the serial offender, Beale, is facing a heavy blow - to his pay packet and Wallabies selection prospects.
The Australian Associated Press suggested Beale's days as a Rebels player appear short-lived, while he also looks to have blown his chances of starting for Australia against the British and Irish Lions in June.
Off-contract this year, the star back's future in Rugby Union is now under a dark cloud.
Melbourne officials are deeply unhappy with the behaviour of their problem child and are prepared to throw the book at him, according to AAP.
The Rebels have shown they're willing to take a hard line on marquee players, suspending Danny Cipriani for six weeks for alcohol-related misdemeanours in 2011 before letting him go last year.
A prolonged suspension would severely hurt Beale's Test chances when Wallabies coach Robbie Deans names his 25-man squad for the Lions on June 1.
Already sidelined for the past three weeks with a broken hand, a hefty ban has major ramifications for the 24-year-old as it could rule him out of selection, or leave him well short of match fitness.
The latest incident occurred when a dishevelled Beale abused Rebels skipper Gareth Delve after the Welsh No.8 told him to put his shirt back on on the bus back to their north Durban hotel following the 64-7 loss to the Sharks.
Vuna intervened and was punched by Beale, before retaliating and felling the utility back.
Vuna was congratulated for his actions by now-retired foundation player Michael Lipman on Twitter on Monday.
Lipman responded to Vuna's pre-flight tweet `Long trip home!' with: "I hope you upgraded to 1st class my man! Champagne on ice and caviar flowing - #Legend".
It was Vuna who first blew the lid on Beale's antics on the team buss.
Hours after the Rebels' record 10-try defeat by the Sharks in Durban, Vuna revealed in a tweet that Beale hit him.
"I need to leave right now, this ain't for me! I tried to help someone but got punched so instead of putting him in hospital il leave!" Vuna posted.
The tweet was deleted but later published on a fan website, with one Twitter user asking Vuna if his alleged assailant was drunk.
Vuna replied: "Hmmmmm his name is kurtley_beale bloody grub!"
The Rebels management responded with two statements.
The Rebels' first statement : The Melbourne Rebels would like to respond to reports of an incident between players following the team's bus trip home to their hotel in Umhlanga.
The franchise is treating this matter as serious and a full internal investigation has begun with the players involved.
Therefore, the franchise cannot provide any further comment until the internal investigation is completed.
The franchise will be fully co-operative to any media request as per the franchise's media policy at the conclusion of this investigation.
No other parties were involved.
They later revealed that both players were sent home.
The Rebels' second statement: As a result of an internal investigation into the incident that took place on the Melbourne Rebels team bus Saturday night Durban time, Rebels players Kurtley Beale and Cooper Vuna have been stood down from the South African tour and will return to Australia immediately.
This disciplinary decision has been taken following an investigation conducted Sunday morning Durban time.
Head Coach, Damien Hill, said both Beale and Vuna had broken team protocols and as a result cannot be part of the team until the disciplinary process is complete.
"The franchise will not tolerate this type of behaviour and I am embarrassed for everyone associated with building this franchise," Hill said.
CEO, Steven Boland, said both Beale and Vuna are contracted Wallabies and as a consequence the Rebels have been liaising this afternoon with the ARU and will continue to do so in the best interests of the Rebels and Australian Rugby.
"There can be no excuses for the disrespect shown to the Melbourne Rebels Rugby franchise by these players.
"The expectation of the franchise and our supporters is that the management and players in South Africa focus immediately on their task of making amends for the poor on field performance in Durban on Saturday by making us all proud in Bloemfontein next weekend," Boland said.