Tue 22 Apr 2014 | 10:13
Beale's pre-Blues absence no bother
Tue 22 Apr 2014 | 10:13
Beale's pre-Blues absence no botherSHARE
The Waratahs are unconcerned that injured playmaker Kurtley Beale might not train at all before tackling the Blues at Eden Park on Friday.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has placed Beale in cotton wool this week, giving the midfield provider every chance and all the time he needs to overcome an ankle injury in time to take the field in Super Rugby's Anzac Day blockbuster on Friday.
Beale is considered a 70-30 chance of playing but is unlikely to train before the team flies out for Auckland on Thursday.
With Cheika already giving his entire squad two days off after Saturday's tough 19-12 win over the Bulls – which followed a draining three-week tour of South Africa and Perth – the Waratahs were only ever going to squeeze in two team runs before facing the Blues.
However, flank Michael Hooper said the short turnaround wasn't a problem.
"It's not too common for us but we're fine with dealing with it," Hooper told AAP.
"We'll rip into the next two days of training and get over to New Zealand.
"It's getting to that point of the season where we've trained [a lot], we're game ready, so it's about ticking off the knowledge during the week and flying into a game."
Beale's importance to the Waratahs was on display once more against the Bulls when his slick combination with flyhalf Bernard Foley set up a sizzling try for Israel Folau just 28 seconds into the superstar fullback's long-awaited comeback from a throat injury.
Scrumhalf Nick Phipps has the best view in the house to see Beale working his magic with Foley and Folau and said Beale's return to Sydney after two years at the Melbourne Rebels was a major factor in the Waratahs' emergence as genuine title contenders.
"He's been great," Phipps said.
"[With] him and Bernie [Foley] working the 10 and 12 together, you noticed a wealth of knowledge there and he's really committed to the team and the boys loving playing with him.
"That try that Izzy scored, you just saw him straighten up, square up, put Ashley-Cooper away and Swoop [Beale] was able to offload – just little smart things – he's just so good for us.
"He's always there, offering us chat in the breaks – telling us where we need to go, where the holes are opening up.
"So that offers a lot to us and he's one of our senior leaders in the team," Phipps added.
In a boost for the Waratahs, powerhouse eighthman Wycliff Palu is back and available after missing the win over the Bulls following the death of his father this month.
"Obviously getting Cliffy back is huge for us," Hooper said.