SYDNEY (AFP) - Wallabies captain Michael Hooper said on Sunday that Kurtley Beale should not be sacked and has called for a squad honesty session to dispel talk of team disunity under coach Ewen McKenzie.
He insisted the "team is tight" and backed the besieged McKenzie, who has become embroiled in the fallout of Beale's messy spat with former team business manager Di Patston.
Beale was suspended from last week's Argentina game in Mendoza over a mid-flight argument with her, and was later barred from selection indefinitely after the emergence of "deeply offensive text messages" about her.
The Australian Rugby Union said Patston had resigned from her position late on Friday, citing stress relating to the recent events.
The drama has overshadowed the Wallabies' preparations for next weekend's third Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand in Brisbane.
The Australian squad went into camp on Sunday and Hooper said an honesty session would be held for all the players to express their thoughts on the latest controversy.
"It is worth doing as a playing group," he told reporters.
"We need to be honest with each other and that allows for on-field harmony.
"Once everyone is transparent then you can move forward.
"(But) the team is tight, you have got to be."
Asked if Beale deserved to be sacked over the ongoing controversy, Hooper said: "No (but) with that stuff it is out of our hands.
"I hope KB (Beale) stays in rugby union and Australian Rugby Union. We are backing Kurtley.
"I enjoy having him around the team and he is quality on the field."
The NSW Waratahs playmaker is off contract for next season and has yet to agree on a new deal with the ARU.
Hooper said Beale was "rattled" by the latest turmoil.
"KB has a chance to move away from it this week, distance himself from it," he said.
"Speaking to the boys who have spoken to KB he is a bit rattled, but he's alright and understands the process in play at the moment."
McKenzie is also under pressure with reports he is in danger of losing the team's support as senior players side with Beale over the scandal.
He denied he was having an intimate relationship with Patston when he answered questions at a sensational press conference on Friday.
Asked if he backed McKenzie, Hooper said: "We back everyone who is in the squad.
"And you have got to because we are about winning, and we need to get back to winning.
"I think it is a blessing in disguise that a lot of it was last week so we are able to focus on the footy stuff.
"At the end of the day we want to play rugby so it is not hard putting that stuff at the back of your mind.
"You have to try to bring positives out of negatives but it has to be done in the appropriate manner otherwise it is not going to happen."
The Wallabies are regrouping from last week's 21-17 defeat - Argentina's first win in the Rugby Championship.
The All Blacks have already won the Bledisloe Cup for the 12th year running, after a 12-12 draw in Sydney and a 51-20 win in Auckland.