Beale happy to play his role

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Waratahs utility Kurtley Beale is stepping up in Bernard Foley's absence but the utility says he’s happy  to play wherever he’s needed in 2016.

Beale is training at 10 with Foley only recently returned from a Japanese Top League stint but will likely slot into inside centre or fullback for the season proper.

As for where he would choose to play, Beale hinted his preference would be at inside centre but he would fall in line with whatever coach Daryl Gibson chose.

“Bernard and i have struck up a quality combination in 10 and 12 the last couple of years so I’d like to cement myself there," he said.

“I think we’ll start from there and whatever Daryl wants we’ll just work with it.

“I feel over the last few years I've been very adaptive on the field and I’d like to consider that as a strength of my game.”

Beale’s ability to slot in at most backline positions was invaluable for the Wallabies at last year’s Rugby World Cup and it’s something that has made him an important member of the Waratahs squad, freeing Gibson up to consider moving Israel Folau to outside centre.

The 26-year-old said he would be comfortable however the backline formation was set.

“If Izzy’s in the front line then I guess I’d go back (to fullback) but then again who knows?,” he said.

“I think it’s great that we can swap and change and keep the opposition guessing .

“We’re very lucky we've got some quality players to be able to make those changes.”

Kurtley Beale hopes to build his partnership with Bernard Foley. Photo: Getty Images

As one of the more senior players in the Waratahs squad this season, the leadership expectation on Beale will grow and that’s something he said he was happy to embrace.

“I think becoming a leader that’s just a natural thing for a bloke that’s been around for a while and has some experience under his belt,” he said.

“There’s a lot of young guys within the team and they certainly are looking up to a lot of the older guys in the group, the senior players in the group.”

Beale said that leadership would be bolstered by his World Cup experiences.

“As a player getting put in different situations throughout the year year in, year out, you certainly learn a lot about the game about your teammates, yourself,” he said.

“I’ve certainly learned a lot from that World Cup experience and I’ll be doing everything I can to help the Waratahs become a successful team.”

The Waratahs are likely to field a stronger team this weekend for their trial against the Chiefs, welcoming back some of their Wallabies representatives, including Beale.

While club captain Dave Dennis is in doubt for the match with concussion, lock Will Skelton was confident he would return by the final trial match against the Highlanders.

Skelton pulled up from his first dose of Rugby since the World Cup well but said he wanted to improve his fitness.

NSW plays the Chiefs on Friday at 2pm AEDT.