Beale stayed in rugby for Lions action
February 18, 2013
Kurtley Beale scores the match-winning try in the dying minutes against Wales in Cardiff in 2012. © PA Photos
Wallabies star Kurtley Beale has revealed the lure of playing for his country against the British and Irish Lions in 2013 was the main reason he decided to stay with the code and reject offers from several National Rugby League (NRL) clubs.
Beale has told News Limited papers in Australia that he had offers from multiple Sydney-based and Queensland NRL clubs, but the chance to play in a series against the Lions is what ultimately made him re-sign with Australian rugby.
"When my contract did come up, I knew an opportunity like this only comes every 12 years," Beale said. "There was interest from certain (NRL) clubs in Sydney and Queensland. But this is an opportunity to be part of history ... not many people get the chance to do that. The trophy is in our cabinet. We're going to need a lot of courage and heart to defend that."
Beale is contracted to Melbourne Rebels for the remainder of this year, and speculation is growing that he may well try a stint in league after that or return to New South Wales and rejoin the Waratahs. But his sole focus for this year remains on playing a part for the Wallabies against the Lions.
Beale said as a child watching in 2001 the memories of that Lions series still sit strongly with him, and if he takes his place in the upcoming series it would be the pinnacle of his career alongside the Rugby World Cup.
"Playing against four of the top nations in the northern hemisphere, against their best players, it just doesn't get better than that," Beale said.
"I remember sitting at home (in 2001) watching the last Lions series on TV, I had just finished primary school and I looked up to guys like Andrew Walker, Joe Roff, and Matt Burke. Seeing them play against the Lions was probably one of the best spectacles I have ever seen in either rugby code."
"That second Test in Melbourne was an unbelievable game, Joe Roff scored two tries. Then that last Test in Sydney, Australia had to win to claim the series, and Justin Harrison took that lineout in the dying moments, those moments are captured in my memory and kept me in the game."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year
With just two rounds left in the 2014 championship, the intensity cranks up a notch at Twickenham. Tom Hamilton previews the weekend's action
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry
Are the margins between the teams in the Six Nations getting smaller year-on-year? Huw Richards gives some answers