Beale ready for Bledisloe return

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Kurtley Beale is confident he will be right to go for the first Bledisloe and wants to don the 12 jersey.

Beale played his last game for English side Wasps in May’s Premiership semi-final, before a hamstring injury ruled him out of the final.

Returning to Australia last week, Beale was back in full training on Monday, still working back to full confidence more than a year after a patella tendon injury ended his 2016 Super Rugby season, and ultimately his Test year.

“I’ve lost a lot of muscle in that leg and it’s a bit of a slow process getting that muscle back,” he said.

“The fitness is still coming along, It’s been a while (but I’m) back in the full swing of things, back into a program.

"I’ve played enough rugby now to be able to get back out there when I’m ready.

“It’s up to the selectors but I’ll be putting my best foot forward, that’s for sure.”

Beale hasn’t played for the Wallabies since the 2015 Rugby World Cup, coming off the bench as a utility in that tournament, but he was shaping as Australia’s first-choice 12 before that knee injury last year.

Karmichael Hunt stepped up on debut. Photo: WalmsleyIn the 18 Tests after that injury, eight players have filled the starting inside centre spot - Samu Kerevi,  Matt Toomua, Matt Giteau, Bernard Foley, Samu Kerevi, Reece Hodge, Kyle Godwin and Karmichael Hunt, with Foley and Hodge in five each.

Hunt will be the incumbent come August’s Rugby Championship and the 30-year-old is someone Beale said he felt he could learn plenty from.

“He’s been around for a while, he’s got the experience of either codes and I think that’s definitely helping our game, that’s for sure,” he said.

“His defence is pretty special.

“He’s doing some pretty good things for us and I’m looking forward to learning a lot about the game and learning off each other, bouncing ideas off each other because if we can all do that that’s going to hold us in good stead for game one.”

Beale said his time overseas had taught him plenty on the field.

“I feel like I’ve definitely grown with my knowledge in the game, learned a lot off the coaching up there.

“I learned a lot off the guys next to me, picking their brains in how to play the game, the kicking game is very important and certainly I was very  much involved in growing that part of my game in Europe.”

The Wallabies play the first Bledisloe on August 19 in Sydney, kicking off at 8pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RADIO.