Beale: Delve to bury the hatchet
Beale: Delve to bury the hatchetSHARE
The Rebels' Welsh captain Gareth Delve said he is ready to bury the hatchet and play alongside Kurtley Beale again sometime in the future.
This follows the much-publicised fall-out of Beale's decision to punch his captain in a drunken rage on the team bus in Durban last week.
Beale and wing Cooper Vuna – who was also punched by Beale and then retaliated – were sent home in disgrace for their part in the incident in Durban.
The Wallaby utility back, Beale, has since quit rugby to deal with his off-field demons, which Beale said include alcohol abuse and other 'addictions'.
Vuna apologised and will miss only one game. He will available for the game against Western Force in Perth next weekend.
"I'm a professional player and for the most part my relationship with Kurtley is excellent," Delve told Fairfax Media.
"There were factors on the night that aren't going to be an issue for the future, I'd imagine, so it's not something that I can't get past.
"Once the process [Beale's recovery] is complete I'm more than willing to play alongside Kurtley. I'm sure things will be sorted well before then."
Delve said he took responsibility for the Rebels players going to a bar, because he went against the initial advice of coach Damien Hill that they should stay at the hotel.
The Welshman said he had believed that time bonding between the players would help them rebound against the Central Cheetahs.
"I've thought about it a lot. It's something that really didn't turn out well and hindsight is 20-20 [so] I suppose at the time the obvious decision was to go back to the hotel," Delve said.
"Judging by what happened it was a huge mistake, but the intentions were good and I think for the most part most of the players understood the reasons and understood the responsibilities of what we were doing so I'm very disappointed in what happened."
The Rebels captain, Delve, and coach Damien Hill have spoken freely at a press conference about a turbulent week for the franchise.
They vowed to shift the focus to regaining the respect of the fans and members in Bloemfontein against the Cheetahs this weekend.
Speaking from South Africa, both Hill and Delve admitted that the franchise's record thrashing at the hands of the Sharks as well as the after match incident had been sobering and embarrassing.
"The media fallout over the last couple of days has allowed us to be aware of the level of disappointment felt by our fans and members," explained Delve.
"We're very sorry for the pressure we have put on everybody back home, but now we have a great opportunity to put that right against the Cheetahs.
"We have worked hard on our culture and team spirit over the last three seasons, but we have been criticised heavily because of this massive blip; now we need to concentrate on performing."
Hill agreed that it had been a tough week for all attached to the franchise, but was pleased with the response of his squad.
"The week started slow, but training yesterday [Wednesday] was a real step up. We can't escape what happened, but events like this bring the players and our organisation back home together, and I am really pleased with the ways the players have refocused for the big game.
"Everybody was embarrassed and angry after the last game. There have been a couple of very direct and honest meetings, and the players held their own review. Now we are back in the swing of it, motivation levels are high and we have been given an opportunity for the team to show their true character, which has been rightfully questioned."
The Cheetahs are fresh off an Australasian tour which brought them three of a possible four wins, including wins over Rebels' conference rivals the Western Force and NSW Waratahs, and Delve expects a tough challenge.
"This team are all it in together. I'm proud of the players, and I expected this response. We reviewed the game completely honestly, the response has been fantastic and we are all well placed to put in a good performance."