Rebels rally around media-shy Beale
May 2, 2013
Kurtley Beale has spoken privately with Melbourne Rebels team-mate Gareth Delve about the incident in South Africa © Getty Images
Troubled Kurtley Beale may not be ready to publicly discuss his demons, but his Melbourne Rebels captain and coach say he is mentally prepared for a Super Rugby return.
Beale pulled out of a planned Thursday media conference - which would have been his first since his alcohol-fuelled punch-up with team-mates on a team bus in South Africa.
It is understood he doesn't feel ready to confront questioning about the off-field issues he has been dealing with.
Beale was suspended by the club for six weeks and has been undergoing alcohol counselling since being sent home from South Africa for hitting skipper
Instead, Delve stepped into the media breach for the reluctant Beale, emphatically backing the wayward Wallaby's return for Friday night's Super Rugby clash with the Chiefs at AAMI Park.
Delve says Beale has won back both his and team-mates' trust through words and actions since returning to the club this week. But he warns that faith and support is dependent on Beale remaining committed to staying on track.
"We're putting a lot of trust in him," Delve said. "We're supporting him and while he continues to work hard and repay that trust, that support will always be there. We've had a say and we're hoping that's repaid tenfold tomorrow. What he spoke about on Tuesday and the efforts he's been making away from the lads - that's given me enough faith and the lads enough faith to give him this opportunity."
Delve said he and Beale had spoken privately about the South African incident, though he would not divulge what was said.
"I've spoken personally with KB and that'll remain between us. It's given us the faith in him to give him this opportunity. You play a team sport; it's about trust in each other and repaying that trust. I'm expecting big things from him and ongoing efforts to keep doing what he's been doing."
Coach Damien Hill said it was in no-one's best interests for Beale to face public scrutiny "at this stage" ahead of a clash with the defending Super Rugby champions.
"He's had a fairly emotional week. Myself and the team want him purely focused on his performance come tomorrow night," Hill said of Beale, who will be on the bench against the Chiefs. "There's a fair bit of emotional energy put into what he's gone through and there's only so much of that you've got. He was excellent at training, he's engaged, he's across what we're trying to do and he's itching to get out there."
Delve believes the Rebels have drawn a line in the sand after their South African debacle, which included a 64-7 mauling by the Sharks ahead of the Beale dust-up.
"When you get issues like we had in Africa - and we're certainly not glossing past that - the defeat against the Sharks was a very low point for us," the skipper said. "But we've moved past that, put in some very good performances in that time, and it's about turning those performances into wins."
Gareth Delve and Damien Hill discuss return of Kurtley Beale
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland