Wallaby stood down ahead of DUI court appearance
TOLU Latu has conceded he should have notified NSW coaching staff about his drink-driving charge before they were discovered it just hours before last Saturday's match.
The Waratahs have stood Latu down from Super Rugby until his court hearing on June 6.
"I'm disappointed with my actions, because I recognise the seriousness of this situation," Latu said late Tuesday.
"I want to apologise to my teammates and NSW Rugby Union. I also want to apologise to the rugby community, I know that my actions do not reflect well on the game.
"I take full responsibility for what has happened, and I will accept any potential sanctions from my court case.
"I also recognise I should have spoken to the coach earlier.
"I will accept the support from the NSW Waratahs, RUPA and my own support networks to ensure that I don't find myself in this position again."
Latu, who has played 12 Tests for Australia, was allegedly found slumped behind the wheel of his car in the middle of Cleveland Street in Moore Park at 4.30am last Thursday.
When police officers arrived, they conducted a breath test and Latu allegedly returned an alcohol reading of 0.135, while he was also found to be driving on a suspended licence.
Latu was charged with mid-range drink driving, but went to training hours later without informing coach Daryl Gibson or any other staff.
When the media alerted Waratahs and Rugby Australia officials about the charge, NSW were left to scramble to seek confirmation from SANZAAR that Latu could still play in the match against Queensland in Brisbane.
He came off the bench and was influential in NSW's win.
Latu met with Australian rugby integrity unit officials on Monday and despite being able to train with the Tahs, he will not be available for selection until at least his court case on June 6, two days before NSW host the Brumbies in a crucial Australian conference match.
It means the Waratahs hooker will miss at least the next two matches, against the Jaguares on Saturday at Bankwest Stadium, followed by the Rebels in Melbourne on May 31.
"Tolu's actions are a serious breach of the standards we set for the players, coaches and staff both on and off the field," NSW Rugby Union CEO, Andrew Hore, said.
"He is regretful of his actions and has taken full responsibility and NSW Waratahs will provide him with the necessary support and further education.
"We expressed our disappointment in the manner which we were notified of this issue as we expect our players to be open and honest with our wider team."
Still reeling from the controversial sacking of Israel Folau, the Tahs must now win at least their next two games without the key Wallaby hooker, who proved last weekend off the bench his value at the scrums and breakdowns.
Latu's chances of featuring in the Wallabies' World Cup squad this year have nosedived after coach Michael Cheika axed him from a national training camp held in the past three days, following the revelations of his criminal charge.