Midfield shift will free up 'frustrated' Beale: Hooper

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A shift back to no.12 will help Kurtley Beale shake off some playmaking responsibility against the Pumas and skipper Michael Hooper says that’s exactly what the enigmatic back wants.

Hooper expects a free-flowing encounter and the switch of Beale back to inside centre should surely help to that end.

Beale has been ‘frustrated’ at 10, with all the playmaking responsibility and Hooper said he would relish the extra freedom he is used to at 12.

“Being at 12 takes the responsibility off him to create with a bit less time. Kurtley, once he sees and gets the picture and can digest that, he's as dangerous as they come,” he said.

“I mean watching him with the ball in hand when he's got time, he just looks so natural with the ball.

“I'm excited for him, he's been a little bit frustrated with not being able to click and get things and being able to run in a try.

“I know that's what he wants to do ball in hand.

“I’m keen to see how we've developed in the past week and that improvement that I think we took out of that South African game, it's starting to get a bit more flowy, running rugby there.”

The Wallabies will go into the game as outsiders with betting agencies but that's a position that doesn't worry Hooper.

“A lot of the time it's us as a nation, the underdog thing and backs against the wall thing and being fighters there,” he said.

“Certainly, we've had performances like that in the last couple of years. Tomorrow night we will do the talking and get out there.”

The Wallabies finalised their bench on Friday local time, with Rob Simmons edging out Rory Arnold for the last spot in the 23.

Michael Cheika opted for a 5-3 split with just the one lock on the bench for the clash rather than the two he had in the 23 last week.

Caleb Timu made the cut for the first time since June and Hooper said the no. 8 would be a handy player to call on off the bench.

“Looking for some punch there with Caleb,” he said.

“We've been on the receiving end of some of his stuff of the bench in Super rugby scheme of things this year and playing with him through some of the Tests earlier in the year, he packs a lot of punch defensively and in attack.

“Getting him to come on and really add that, particularly in the ball carrying through the middle of the field and the back end of the games, going to be one of his key roles to do it and something he can do really well.”

The Wallabies take on the Pumas on Saturday October 6 local time. Sunday 9:40am AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Channel Ten.


Wallabies to face Argentina

1. Scott Sio (50 Tests)

2. Folau Faingaa (4 Tests)

3. Taniela Tupou (7 Tests)

4. Izack Rodda (12 Tests)

5. Adam Coleman (27 Tests)

6. Ned Hanigan (16 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (86 Tests)

8. David Pocock (73 Tests)

9. Will Genia (95 Tests)

10. Bernard Foley (63 Tests)

11. Marika Koroibete (16 Tests)

12. Kurtley Beale (79 Tests)

13. Reece Hodge (32 Tests)

14. Israel Folau (68 Tests)

15. Dane Haylett-Petty (26 Tests)


16. Tolu Latu (8 Tests)

17. Sekope Kepu (98 Tests)

18. Allan Alaalatoa (28 Tests)

19. Rob Simmons (89 Tests)

20. Caleb Timu (2 Tests)

21. Nick Phipps (68 Tests)

22. Matt Toomua (38 Tests)

23. Tom Banks (2 Tests)