Wallabies ace Kurtley Beale puts drama aside to focus on Wales
There was no talk of his impending court case but wayward Wallabies star Kurtley Beale is adamant his dodgy shoulder will hold up after being recalled for Saturday's third Test against Wales.
Beale’s return at fullback was one of two changes from the starting team which stunned the Dragons 25-23 last week in dramatic fashion to take an unassailable 2-0 series lead, with lock Sitaleki Timani also replacing Rob Simmons.
It’s his first match since being involved in a late-night incident in Brisbane two weeks ago, where he faces one charge of common assault for an alleged altercation with a bouncer.
Due to the ongoing nature of the case, the Rebels star along with coach Robbie Deans refused to be drawn on the matter, Deans responding with a simple “yes” when asked if he was happy with Beale’s state of mind.
However, the gifted back did open up about the state of his shoulder, insisting he wasn’t taking a risk by coming straight back into Test rugby despite not having laced up the boots in almost a month.
“It’s obviously been a while now. I’m just raring to go,” said Beale, playing his first Test since last year’s bronze World Cup play-off win over the Dragons.
“I think the medical staff have done a really good job.
They’ve respected me and looked towards the future in protecting me. I’m just very happy to be a part of it and I’m very grateful for another opportunity this weekend.”
Winger Cooper Vuna makes way for his Melbourne team-mate with the versatile Adam Ashley-Cooper moving from fullback to take Vuna’s place out wide.
The other casualty from Beale’s return was more of a shock, with second Test hero Mike Harris dropped from the bench despite his late match-winning penalty to wrap up the series.
Beale was in line to play fly-half before injury struck and Deans felt he provided adequate cover at No.10 and in the goal-kicking department.
“It was a great piece of character when he stepped up at the end to win that game so it’s obviously no reflection of what he did in that game,” the coach added of Harris’ omission.
Deans, meanwhile, insisted his side were bracing for a Welsh backlash after being robbed of a first win Down Under in 43 years last week.
He said: “They’ll be absolutely desperate to end on a high, and will know that they are capable of doing exactly that.”
AUSTRALIA XV: K Beale, A Ashley-Cooper, R Horne, P McCabe, D Ioane, B Barnes, W Genia, W Palu, D Pocock (C), S Higginbotham, N Sharpe, S Timani, S Kepu, T Polota Nau, B Robinson.