Beale storing spark up his sleeve

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Waratahs centre Kurtley Beale says he’ll be shelving his trademark spark for when the team really needs it in 2018.

Beale played his first match for the Waratahs in close to two years, in their trial last Thursday, after a stint in the UK, and said balance was the main thing he had in his mind for the upcoming year.

“As I've grown in my career I feel like (I'm) picking when to do the big play and when not to," he said.

"I've certainly realised the impact of trying to do a big play on the team when if it doesn't come off you can put pressure on the team and stuff like that.

“I feel like I'm a player now that can help manage the game, certainly with the halves inside me, and be that link man that can hopefully help release the guys outside me like Israel (Folau), Curtis Rona, Alex Newsome.

“We've got a lot of special talent out wide and if I can help manage the game and not always go for the big play and direct the team around with Bernard (Foley) or our other number 10s, I know I'm fulfilling my role and doing my role for the team and that's all I need to worry about really.”

That doesn’t mean the enigmatic inside back is entirely throwing his bag of tricks away, though.

“There might be a little bit, (I) always try for a little bit of sparkle,” he said.

“I feel very confident in my own ability to get out there and keep building on my own performances and keep adding to the team.”

The 29-year-old has been back in Australia since the middle of 2017, returning to the Wallabies setup ahead of the Rugby Championship,and even though the Waratahs' spine is the same as that of the national side, with Foley and Folau alongside Beale, things aren't quite a rinse and repeat for Beale.

“There's a different dynamic here at the Waratahs this year,” he said.

“There's a lot of new faces,  but the familiar ones in Bernard and Izzy, it's great to be able to come back and keep building on the combinations that we've built over the last few years.

"It's obviously exciting times with those two, obviously world-class players themselves. 

"It’s something to look forward to.

"This weekend and throughout the year (the goal) is to keep building on what we've already created and try to deliver the performances that we've done in previous years to try and lead the team around.

"It's certainly something that I'm looking forward to doing and it's always special when you put on the sky blue jersey, so it's great to be back."

The real barometer comes on Saturday for the Waratahs when they face the Stormers, and Beale said he felt they could rise to the occasion.

“I feel like there is a nice little balance brewing,” he said.

“I'm an optimist, I think all players here believe we can take it to the next level.

“We feel like we've put in the hard yards through our preseason and obviously (we’re) putting a big focus on our defence this year to try and make a big difference in the competition.”

The Waratahs take on the Stormers on Saturday February 24 at Allianz Stadium, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT. Buy tickets here.