Beale awaits disciplinary inquiry ahead of second Wales Test
Kurtley Beale appears to have overcome the first hurdle but an internal disciplinary inquiry could still stand between him and selection for Australia’s second Test against Wales.
KURTLEY Beale appears to have overcome the first hurdle but an internal disciplinary inquiry could still stand between him and selection for Australia’s second Test against Wales.
Beale trained with the Wallabies reserves and a group of local schoolboys in Melbourne on Monday as he bids for a return to the Test side following minor shoulder surgery.
The fullback-turned-five-eighth didn’t appear to be troubled by the shoulder in the non-contact session, while the majority of the starting side which beat Wales in Brisbane last Saturday trained in the Visy Park gym.
But his return to the side to be named on Tuesday for Saturday’s second Test in Melbourne could come down to an Australian Rugby Union inquiry into his alleged involvement in an incident at a Brisbane pub last week.
While awaiting a police investigation into the incident in which Beale allegedly assaulted a bouncer while out with injured teammate Quade Cooper, the ARU is conducting its own inquiry.
If cleared on fitness and disciplinary fronts, Beale would come back into the team on the bench, at best, after Berrick Barnes’ authoritative display at five-eighth in Australia’s 27-19 first Test win.
Coach Robbie Deans has indicated he’ll stick to the first Test starting side, with Barnes at five-eighth and Adam Ashley-Cooper at fullback, keeping Beale on the bench.
Skipper David Pocock expects a much tougher Wales than the side which forced its way back from 20-6 down to 20-19 with 17 minutes to go in the first Test.
“They’re a classy side and they wouldn’t have been happy with last Saturday night,” Pocock said.
“We’re well aware we’ll be up against a much improved and hungrier Wales side this week.”
Despite the impressive turnaround following last Tuesday’s 9-6 loss to Scotland in Newcastle, Pocock said the Wallabies still have a lot of work to do.
“Some things were a bit rusty and we’re definitely not where we want to be,” he said.
“But what you did see is a willingness to work for each other. That’s going to be crucial this Saturday.”
That willingness and depth was crucial as the Wallabies regained the ascendancy after Wales came back midway through the second half.
“The great thing for us was at 20-19 it was anyone’s game,” Pocock said.
“We put on some reserves who really added a lot and we were able to control the next 10 minutes. That was pleasing, but there’s plenty to work on.”
A hand injury to prop Sekope Kepu could force the only change to the starting team for the Etihad Stadium Test and earn Brumbies tight-head Dan Palmer a recall after his debut against the Scots.