Beale hails Berne's role in exposing Wallabies' 'spice'

International
by Emma Greenwood

Kurtley Beale has lauded the influence new attack coach Shaun Berne is having on the Wallabies saying players have been given licence to bring their own "spice" to the attack.

The mercurial Beale has long had permission to play what's in front of him but with Berne's arrival, the combination of playmakers throughout the backline have been handed a structure in which to express their flair and Beale says it's exciting.

That was on display in Perth, with Beale, Christian Lealiifano and James O'Connor combining to create options for the Wallabies.

Kurtley Beale scores to seal the Wallabies win against the All Blacks at Optus Stadium. Photo: Rugby.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

"Berney's been great for us as a backline and for the side in attack, he's brought a new edge to the game, a different approach, which is always refreshing," Beale said.

"And he's just allowing the guys to go out there and just be themselves and providing a structure that allows us to do that."

The addition of O'Connor to the backline gave the Wallabies a third playmaking option, something that paid dividends as the reformed wild child created plenty of chances, including for Australia's opening try with a perfectly-timed pass for Reece Hodge.

"It just brought a few different dynamics to how we want to play the game," Beale said of the playmaking trio.

Wallabies attack coach Shaun Berne at training in Melbourne ahead of this weekend's return Bledisloe clash. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

"(O'Connor and Lealiifano are) two players (with) a lot of unpredictability about their game and they certainly brought that on the weekend.

"IT just gives the defence a different threat whenever you see them around the park."

While the addition of O'Connor relieved pressure on the other playmakers around him, Beale said Berne had created a structure flexible enough to give every member of the backline a licence to play what was in front of them.

"Shaun Berne …  just allows everyone to bring their own little spice to the attack," Beale said.

James O'Connor takes on the All Black defence in Perth. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

"It's great to have players with that type of ammunition, the creativity, it's very important at Test-match level and it's great to be able to keep linking with different guys, whoever's been swapped in and out at training."

That swapping could continue this week, with head coach Michael Cheika not ruling out changes for Saturday's match in Auckland.

After winning the opening leg of the Bledisloe Cup in 2015, Cheika made several changes for the return match at Eden Park only to be beaten soundly, although the Wallabies did go on to make the World Cup final that year.

Asked whether it was worth sacrificing a hoodoo-ending win at Eden Park in exchange for a strong World Cup performance, Beale had to think hard.

Kurtley Beale trains with the Wallabies. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

"It's not nice losing," he said.

"But I think at the end of the day, you've just got to back the coaching staff and the selectors.

"They're there to do their job and as players, we've just got to put our best foot forward and make sure we're ready when we get the opportunity.

"You've just got to have that level of trust with each other and trust everyone to put their best foot forward."

David Pocock works with conditioning staff at Wallabies training. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

David Pocock could be among those changes, having completed his first full Wallabies training session of the year this week.

"It's great to see him out and about and in and around the group," Beale said.

"I'm sure he's a huge influence on the back row and his addition to the team would be awesome - someone of his calibre and experience would be very, very welcomed."

Not that it will make winning at Eden Park any easier.

 

"It's always a huge challenge for any team going to Auckland. For the Wallabies, it's the pinnacle of Test matches, I think," Beale said.

"It's one of the toughest environments to play at but there's a lot of guys who have experienced that and we understand that we've got to go to an extra level going into the weekend and it's an exciting challenge for everyone."

Beale was loathe to describe last week's win as one of the best he had been involved in as a Wallaby, keeping a lid on celebrations and revealing the Wallabies expect "big adjustments" from the All Blacks after their concession they underestimated their rivals.

"They're a special team, they know what they've got to do and we're expecting that," Beale said.

 

"But the focus has got to be purely on us and a day-by-day mentality. I think recovery is very important, making sure that the bodies are right - but at the same time, enjoying the challenge.

"It's not every week that you get to enjoy these big occasions and it's just going to be a big challenge for everyone involved."

The Wallabies take on the All Blacks at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday, August 17, kicking off at 7:35pm local (5:35pm AEST) and broadcast on Network Ten, Fox Sports and Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au radio.