Beale is back for Wallabies
Tue, 19 Jun 2012 06:58
Fullback Kurtley Beale returns to the Wallabies starting lineup for the third Test against Wales in Sydney on Saturday.
The backline ace has been troubled by injury for some time, having picked up a hamstring strain at the World Cup last year, and then sustaining a shoulder injury whilst playing for the Rebels against the Hurricanes last month.
As a result Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has taken a conservative approach to managing him, but a tough training session last Sunday, which included a series of contact drills, convinced the Wallabies coaching and medical team that Beale is ready to start this weekend.
"It has been frustrating for Kurtley, and he's obviously had some off-field challenges to deal with as well, but it was important for all concerned that he had full confidence in his shoulder before we looked at re-introducing him to the Test arena," said Deans.
"It's obviously been a while now ... I'm just raring to go," said Beale, who refused to take questions on the alleged assault which occurred when he was out with fellow Wallaby Quade Cooper.
"I think the medical staff have done a really good job ... they've respected me and looked towards the future in protecting me and thought having that extra week would have me in better stead going into the game," added Beale.
"I'm just very happy to be a part of it and I'm very grateful for another opportunity this weekend."
Beale's return has necessitated a switch for the versatile Adam Ashley-Cooper who moves from fullback to wing where he replaces Cooper Vuna who has been dropped from the match-day squad altogether, despite evading suspension for a dangerous tackle on Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny last week.
Another who lost his place was utility back Mike Harris who came off the bench last week to kick the winning penalty, whilst the only casualty in the starting forward pack is lock Rob Simmons who drops to the bench to make way for Sitaleki Timani.
Deans insists that the changes are not cosmetic, but are designed to strengthen his side ahead of the series' final showdown.
He said the fact that valuable players such as Harris and Vuna had missed the cut for Saturday's match-day squad, highlighted the Wallabies’ intent for the final game of the series.
"Wales are a very good side. They give you nothing and they take their scoring chances. They showed that in the Six Nations, and they showed it again last weekend.
"Both games in the series to date have been very close, there's no reason to suggest that Saturday afternoon will be any different," he said.
Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 David Pocock (captain), 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Michael Hooper, 21 Nic White, 22 Anthony Faingaa.
Date: Saturday, June 23
Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-off: 15.00 (05.00 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Jonathon White (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
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