The end of the Highveld hoodoo

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

The city of Bloemfontein has been kind to Kurtley Beale.

It is the scene of one of, if not the most, memorable moments in his career.

In 2010, having not won on the Highveld in 47 years, the Wallabies trailed 39-38 with one minute to play when they won a penalty 48 metres out, 10 in from touch.

The rest is history.

“I remember when we got the penalty they threw the ball to Quade, then he threw it back to me and I threw it back to Quade,” Beale said from the Wallabies’ Johannesburg base.

“Then Pete Harding, the trainer, he came on and said you're taking the kick.

Beale kicked the penalty goal that won the 2010 Nelson Mandela Challenge Trophy. Photo: Getty Images“I hit it pretty sweetly, it felt pretty good coming off the boot.

“As soon as I hit it I thought I had the distance easy but then I saw it starting out left but it faded inside the right hand side of the post.

“It felt good and as soon as it went over I was swamped by the boys - we had some special milestones as well that night with Moorey and Drew Mitchell playing their 50th - so that was pretty special as well.”

While memories of that famous shot still linger seven years later, Beale won’t be the man of the hour should such heroics be required once again in Bloemfontein.

Bernard Foley has found his radar once again after an off night in Dunedin and in Reece Hodge, the Wallabies have the option of pointing to the posts anywhere within 60 metres of the sticks.

Possibly more, as Hodge was slotting them from 70 out during training this time last year.

“Nah, mate. Hodgey’s your man,” Beale said.

“I back him, he’s got a great boot on him.”

Beale is swamped by teammates in Bloemfontein. Photo: Getty Images Beale and the Wallabies arrive in South Africa with their sights firmly set on another win in unfamiliar territory.

They have arrived with a full week ahead of them, a point of difference Beale believes will make a big difference come Sunday morning (AEST).

“Physically, that's probably going to be a huge challenge for a lot of the guys,” he said.

“Making sure that we get our sleep patterns right so we can attack our training sessions really well, along with our nutrition and all that type of stuff.

“It's important we tick all those little things off, some of the guys have already been talking about that and making sure we're all aware because those small things will make a big difference in making the right result in the end.”

Beale also forecast an uptick in pace in the Wallabies approach to attack in Bloemfontein, after a stale attacking night in Perth when these two teams played out a 23-all draw.

“We've got an identity, a certain way we like to play the game and we enjoy throwing the ball around,” Beale said.

“We back ourselves to be a creative bunch and we're still improving on our skills and improving in those areas.

"I don't think we're going to change any way we want to play the game this weekend, I think it's just a matter of making sure we start well and that we're doing it, not waiting for a half-time speech or a bit of a kick up the backside by the senior players.

“Everyone's just got to make sure we start from when that whistle goes and take that confidence that's definitely been building - minus a couple of losses against New Zealand.

“There's a really good feeling out there on the field so it's a matter of just having that confidence, backing it and believing we can play the way (we want).”

The Wallabies take on the Springboks on Sunday morning October 1 from 1:05 AM (AEST) LIVE on FOX SPORTS.