Kurtley Beale shows Wallabies hand
June 1, 2013
Kurtley Beale was involved at every opportunity © Getty Images
Kurtley Beale gave Wallabies management plenty to ponder as he took his last audition before the squad for the first British & Irish Lions Test is finalised, with post-match reports suggesting he will invited to train in the coming week with the 25 players already selected to face the tourists.
Beale, who had played just over half-an-hour in three months due to injury and two suspensions, played a full 80 minutes for Randwick against Sydney University on Saturday. Beale lined up at fullback and tried to involve himself at every opportunity in his first club game since 2010, though the Galloping Greens lost 38-25. He handled the ball four times in the first two minutes, and threw several good passes through the game and offloaded well in tackles. Beale handled three times in the lead-up to Randwick's first try, but was well contained by the Uni defence when he ran to the line.
Beale talked only informally to the media after the game, but his smiling face and relaxed attitude spoke volumes as he continues his comeback from alcohol-related issues. With Wallabies coach Robbie Deans in Brisbane for the Queensland Reds-Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby game on Saturday night, Beale was watched live by Wallabies team manager Bob Egerton and Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver.
Winger and Wallabies teammate Drew Mitchell, a late inclusion in the Randwick team, said that lack of recent match fitness wouldn't be an issue if Beale were one of six players added to the Australia squad on June 11. "I think if he was to get into a squad environment where he knows the people and he knows the structures, and [with] the intensity the guys train at in the Wallaby camp, I don't think it will be too much of an issue," Mitchell said. "I'm certainly not forecasting his selection, but I know that if he was to be selected I'd back the guy."
Mitchell was also confident that Beale would handle the pressure of being thrust into a big game as he continues his rehabilitation after successfully completing the first stage of his counselling. Beale voluntarily entered a private health facility in mid-May, spending around two weeks there. Mitchell said that Beale was in good spirits and definitely making progress. "There's still a process for him to go through and until he's finished that process the corner still needs to be turned, but he's certainly on the right progression," he said.
Greg Growden believes firmly that Kurtley Beale will face the British & Irish Lions
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September