Beale has 'redeemed' himself
The Rebels may have fallen short against the Chiefs on Friday, but there is one major redeeming factor - Kurtley Beale.
The Rebels may have fallen short against the Chiefs on Friday, but there is one major redeeming factor - the successful return of troubled Wallaby Kurtley Beale.
After missing six matches through injury and disciplinary action - for punching two teammates following the Rebels' 7-64 loss to the Sharks in Durban - Beale returned to action in the heartbreaking 33-39 loss to the Chiefs in Melbourne.
The Wallaby bad boy came on in the 48th minute and scored a solo try five minutes from the end, which gave the Rebels late hope of victory.
Coach Damien Hill enjoyed the impact Beale had on his return to the side, and forecast a swift promotion to the starting line-up.
"No!" was Hill's quick and honest answer, when asked whether Beale would again be used off the bench against the Blues in Auckland next Saturday.
"Kurtley's first kick [which went out on the full] was not what we expected, but after that he was electric," Hill said.
"He added so much to our attack.
"Those two combinations with James [O'Connor], one which led to a line break and the other a try, just showed what he can do.
"I hope he gets a lot of confidence out of that, because I know definitely the team did."
Rebels Captain Scott Higginbotham was very optimistic about upcoming games.
"Twice in a row we've put ourselves in the deep end at the start of the game, but the positive side is that we're fighting out of that and coming close and the next couple of games we're going to put it on them," he said.
The Rebels, who have now slipped to two wins and eight defeats this season, take on the Blues in Auckland next week, Higginbotham can see similarities to the Queensland Reds side he played with before moving to Melbourne.
That side was on the end of a number of defeats before turning it around and winning the 2011 Super Rugby competition, and Higginbotham thinks that this Rebels lineup are also on the right track to turn around their fortunes.
"I feel like we are even closer than what the Reds were when we were struggling," Higginbotham said.
"At the Reds, there were a lot of performances where we lost by a lot of points and didn't put points on.
"Here, this year, it’s one lack of concentration or a small error, and then teams are putting points on us. Two weeks in a row, 14-0 down after 10 minutes, but coming within seven points of winning. We're close."