ROSARIO: Kurtley Beale may only be the latest Test stop-gap measure at five-eighth until James O'Connor returns to the Wallabies, but the Rebels utility wants to make the pivotal spot his own.
How he fares against the Pumas today will be crucial in his plans for longevity in the Wallabies No.10 jersey, as O'Connor is a chance to return to the Test squad for the third Bledisloe Cup encounter in Brisbane on October 20. Although the Wallabies were belted in Pretoria last weekend, Beale was one of the few visitors to stand up to the Springboks, delighting the coaching staff with his eagerness to be adventurous, trusting his instincts, and often straightening the Australian attack.
Beale is no stranger to five-eighth, having played the bulk of his schoolboy football there, as well as the early years of his stint with the Waratahs. He was also used at pivot for the Rebels this season when O'Connor was out through injury.
Beale, now more accustomed to being sighted at fullback, stressed he was eager to consistently appear in the halves. ''I'm happy to fill in at any spot, but when I was playing at No.10 with the Rebels this year I was really enjoying my rugby. Last week against the Springboks was a little bit more of a taste, which I want more of,'' Beale said.
Beale said before the Pretoria Test he contacted the two other amigos - Quade Cooper and O'Connor - to get some advice. ''They were able to provide me with a few little tips, which I was very grateful to receive,'' Beale said.
He is also relishing the chance to be a team leader, especially as the back line is extremely raw, including one Test newcomer - winger Nick Cummins - and an outside-centre, Ben Tapuai, who is only playing his second international.
''It is pretty clear what I have to do, and I just have to make sure I don't overplay my hand,'' Beale said.
''This is a good opportunity for me, and hopefully down the track there will be more chances. Playing in the No.10 spot … it is crucial that you are a leader, and that is what I will be aiming to do. So I will be trying to do my best to help all the young guys around me.''