Wallabies need some Beale magic
Tue, 25 Sep 2012 14:56
Kurtley Beale appears set to start at flyhalf this weekend for a Wallabies side that have had their preparations seriously disrupted.
Coach Robbie Deans' side has been hit hard by injuries this season that have robbed them of a series of captains and their latest obstacle has been a gastro bug that has laid the bulk of their forward pack low.
Forwards Liam Gill, Scott Higginbotham, Sitaleki Timani and Ben Alexander all missed training on Tuesday whilst skipper Nathan Sharpe and prop James Slipper made a recovery, but the worst news regards hooker Stephen Moore who is battling a hamstring injury and is doubtful at this stage.
According to reports in the media, Beale trained at flyhalf with Berrick Barnes at fullback, and he is being tipped to replace the injured Quade Cooper as playmaker on Saturday.
The talented utility back had some success in the position for the Melbourne Rebels in Super Rugby this year, and his selection at No.10 will allow Barnes to continue at fullback.
Barnes said that one of the biggest challenges will be to deal with the Springboks' tactical kicking, which is central to their gameplan.
"No side tests the fullback as much as the Springboks do. People talk about the forward battle, but you have to deal with the kicking game as well," Barnes told reporters on Tuesday.
"It's a huge part of Test rugby, how you exit your own half and we struggled with that in Perth. We'll endeavour not to try as many grubbers this time.
"They can be effective if you get them through the line, it's just we didn't get any through," he said.
Another issue that the Wallabies have had to deal with this week has been the controversy suroounding Cooper's comments that the environment in the squad is "toxic".
Midfielder Adam Ashley-Cooper said that the team was not affected by the injured flyhalf's claims and remain focused on the task of playing the Springboks.
"This won't be a distraction for us. There's a great buzz in the squad and we're excited to be here.
"We've had two good wins in this competition and we feel we're building as a group," he said.
Sources: Reuters and AAP
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