Deans backs Beale for fly-half berth
May 24, 2012
Kurtley Beale has played at both fullback and fly-half for the Rebels this term © Getty Images
With Quade Cooper only having just recovered from injury and both James O'Connor and Christian Lealiifano set to miss the summer tour, Beale may be forced to play three games in eight days. The Melbourne Rebels play the Brumbies on June 1 then Australia face Scotland on 5 and Wales on June 9. One option for Deans was to play just Reds and Western Force players against Scotland on June 5 as they both have byes the previous weekend, but he is adamant that he will play the strongest available line up for their four-Test schedule.
Despite the potentially grueling run of matches, Deans has backed Beale to cope with it and has also praised his form at fly-half this season for the Rebels.
''He's perfectly capable of it but it will come down to the circumstance at the time with his physical state and everybody else, [as well as] the balance and mix and the impact it has on the group if we play Kurtley there,'' Deans said. ''We're chasing four wins in three weeks. That's our priority so we'll select the team in order to achieve that.
''He could play one or two up the front and then end up out the back. Hopefully he will be available for all four that would be great. He's an integral part of our group.
''The experience for Kurtley to have to drive and take the responsibility of having to direct the team around the ground, it's invaluable to him. And not just for what happens on the weekend and the responsibility that comes with that, but what he is required to do through the week, the amount of yards he's required to do in preparation for that game and the amount of communication he has to go through with his teammates. It's all growth material for a young man.''
Deans has not closed the door on Cooper playing some part in the games in June, but claims that time is against the Reds fly-half.
''Match conditioning is an issue at Test match level,'' Deans said. ''You can't hide at Test match level. It's a different degree of intensity. If you can't go the distance you get found out. Quade's still got time to convince us of that he's got the opportunity to press his claims and we'll go from there.''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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