Beale to make most of World Cup fullback audition

The Rugby Championship
by Emma Greenwood

Kurtley Beale, World Cup fullback.

It's a title that would sit well with the 84-Test veteran, who so often has featured as a super sub for the Wallabies given his versatility.

Beale was named at no.15 for the Wallabies' Test against Argentina on Saturday night though, giving him the perfect platform to press his case for a starting spot at the World Cup.

His outstanding cameo against the Springboks last week whet the appetite for more, especially given the Wallabies' struggles to cope with South Africa's rush defence with a single playmaker on the field.

Tom Banks rightly gained first shot at fullback after his outstanding Super Rugby campaign for the Brumbies.

Kurtley Beale training ahead of Saturday's Test against Argentina where he will start at fullback. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

He and Beale offer different attributes and while coach Michael Cheika is keen to canvas all his options throughout the Rugby Championship, he is excited to see what the 30-year-old offers.

"He's been training really hard and he's fit as I've seen him for a long time, so that's always a good sign with KB and then he's enjoying his footy," Cheika said.

"You could see that when he came on in a difficult situation last week, he made a lot of impact and obviously deserved the chance to play.

"In saying that, I thought Banks was good last week as well.

"That's good for us, they play different roles. We'll definitely see that, the way Kurtley plays, I think, but in a slightly different role.

"It's been a while since he started a Test at fullback for Australia, so it's going to a good chance for him."

Kurtley Beale in the Wallabies' alternate Indigenous jersey. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

Beale said it would be "amazing" to have the no.15 on his back in Japan.

Having previously been there in that position in the past, as a player it was an amazing experience to be a part of," he said.

"Especially with an opportunity this week, it's a great opportunity to press my case forward and just get the job done.

"There's a lot of competition throughout this squad, which is awesome, everyone is pushing each other to be the best week in, week out and I think it's only going to be better for the team.

"It's exciting times being amongst this group. There's a lot of young guys pushing their case forward and it's just created a really good, healthy environment to get better as a player."

 

While Beale said he would "back myself in any position" he has the confidence and experience to inject himself into the play from 15 and enjoys his football there.

“I’m certainly enjoying fullback at the moment, especially with the combinations in the front line and depending on how many ball running players we’ve got in that front line," he said.

“It enables me to pop in and around the rucks or hold out wide and sniff out opportunities for our big ball runners.

"I back myself at the back. Obviously working combinations is going to be a big challenge this week, again, I feel confident with the guys," he said.

"I've played with a lot of the guys in and around the centre combinations and obviously with Christian back at 10 no, I've had experience with him in the past.

 

"Again, for me, it's exciting to hopefully link up with him and guide the team around to a successful win."

The Wallabies' "new style" has been described simply as heads-up rugby by some players, something that gives Beale a licence from the back.

And Cheika confirmed he had permission to roam

“He’s always got that, that’s just the way he plays footy," he said.

“He looks like he’s enjoying it and by nature if you enjoy the style and the way you play you’re going to play better."

The Wallabies host Argentina at Suncorp Stadium, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on Network Ten, FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports  and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.

Buy tickets here.