Beale takes 'indefinite leave of absence'
May 13, 2013
Rebels and Wallabies star Kurtley Beale looks increasingly unlikely to face the British & Irish Lions later this year © PA Photos
Rebels and Wallabies star Kurtley Beale is to take an indefinite leave of absence to 'seek assistance in resolving personal issues' in a move that not only appears to end his hopes of facing the British & Irish Lions next month but also casts doubt on his long-term future in the sport.
Beale has endured a troubled few months with an altercation with Rebels team-mate Cooper Vuna leading to an indefinite ban and substantial fine back in March.
He recently returned to the Super Rugby stage but picked up another suspension soon after for 'breaches of agreed behavioural protocols' by drinking alcohol and missing a counselling session - two key conditions of his return.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has now revealed that the 24-year-old has "voluntarily entered a private health facility in order to undertake counselling for ongoing issues."
The statement added: "He has done this with the backing of ARU, RUPA (Australian Rugby Union Players' Association) and the Melbourne Rebels who support him on this decision to seek assistance.
"Any future selection will be dependent upon successful completion of his treatment program. Kurtley has requested that his privacy be respected at this time."
Speaking earlier in the day, Beale's former mentor and ex-Wallabies international Glen Ella urged the player to admit to his drinking problem and accept he would not face the Lions next month.
"I'd love to see him playing against the Lions but, in all honesty, I think that's (not playing) going to be part of his rehabilitation," Ella told Fairfax News. "I think he needs to sit this one out."
Ella, who managed the Beale from the age of 13 to 19, added: "My advice to Kurtley - and I love him dearly, he's been a small part of my life - is that he just has to keep away from it and focus on re-establishing his career.
"He needs to come out and say 'every time I do drink, there is an issue'. With a lot of young blokes now, it's a binge-drinking (culture). They don't drink a lot but, when they do, they drink too much. He has to be able to control himself now. He's old enough to make the right decisions.
"He's been blessed with the talent and part of that comes (with) responsibility to be a role model - not just for Aboriginal kids but young kids all over Australia."
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