Rugby Union

Super Rugby: Kurtley Beale open to the idea of playing overseas

Kurtley Beale says he would "definitely" consider playing rugby overseas after seeing a number of his Australian teammates make the most of the opportunity.

And NSW Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has told Beale he will slot into Bernard Foley's No.10 position for the second trial game against the Chiefs in Rotorua, but the 27-year-old is expected to start the regular season at fullback.

With Foley spending the off-season plying his trade in Japanese rugby, Beale has been getting in shape for the Super Rugby season in Sydney and welcomed the idea of showcasing his skills in a foreign country some time in the future.

"I think I'll definitely, if it comes to that stage, be thinking about it," Beale said. "If the opportunity comes up, I'd love to express my interest, but my focus now is purely on the pre-season and working hard with the team and getting ready for the Reds for round one."

In light of news Wallabies star David Pocock is considering a year away from the game to stay fresh for the 2019 World Cup, Beale said he would be supportive of such a move.

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"Whatever he chooses to do, I think you've only got to respect that decision," Beale said. "You've got to respect the players' interest. No doubt if he does go away for a year he'll be back ready and firing for the following year and hopefully for the World Cup." 

There has been plenty of discussion about where Beale will slip into the Waratahs' formidable backline alongside the likes of Foley, Israel Folau and Rob Horne.

Beale had the No.10 on his back at Waratahs training on Wednesday and has been preparing to play five-eighth for the first of two trials in New Zealand.

Asked about his positional preference, Beale suggested inside centre was where he felt most comfortable alongside Foley, but remained tight-lipped about any concrete plans moving forward.

"Depending on what Daryl [Gibson] and the coaches want, Bernard and I have struck up a really good combination in the 10 and 12 for the last couple of years, so I'd like to cement myself there and I think we'll start from there," Beale said. "There's a lot of guys putting their hands up for certain positions and I'm the same."

However, with Gibson keen to have Folau at outside centre and in the front line, there is a strong chance Beale will drop to fullback – a position he is just as comfortable to fill if need be.

"We had him [Folau] playing in the front line a couple of times especially off set pieces and things worked. I can't see why not. If Izzy's in the front line I'd definitely like to push myself to the back, but then again, who knows? I like to consider myself very adaptive and like to take the opportunity wherever it comes and I guess when I initially get that first crack either at 10,12 or 15." 

Bernard Foley, who will join the squad on Saturday before getting himself ready for the second trial at five-eighth, is eager to rekindle a successful combination.

"Having the likes of Israel a bit closer to the ball, having KB at 15 where he excelled so well in the World Cup – and where he was Australia's player of the year a number of years ago – is something very exciting," Foley said.

Meanwhile, lock Will Skelton admits he is down on fitness but plans on getting as much match time in the two remaining trials against the Chiefs and Highlanders after returning from the pectoral injury he suffered in the World Cup. 

"I'm not where I want to be at the moment," Skelton said. "The lungs were hurting but that's pre-season footy. There's no fitness like match fitness. I want to play the bulk of both of them [trial games]." 

Skelton has just over two weeks to sort his mobility and fitness and once he does that he wants to show coach Gibson he can play big minutes, and potentially start more often than not.

"I think everyone on our team wants that 1-15 jersey but I think for our team it's trying to put your best foot forward for the coach," Skelton said.

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