Pleasure and pain: Bernard Foley trains with the Wallabies last week, but he has lost his No.10 jumper for the opening Bledisloe Cup encounter. Photo: Getty Images
Bernard Foley put the bitter taste of disappointment behind him on Monday night to congratulate his Waratahs playmaking partner, Kurtley Beale, on stealing his Test spot out from under him before the Wallabies' biggest match of the year to date.
"He came up to me and, the man that he is, said 'Congratulations mate, well deserved', which, in the circumstances, would have been tough," Beale said.
"It would have been tough for me but it just shows the character of the guy. He's a very humble man and very supportive. I'm very appreciative of that."
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie may have been cooking up this selection shock for some time but Beale did not see it coming.
"There was a bit to digest and I didn't really expect it, but I've tried to prepare for this moment and do all of those little things right to get myself in the position I want – to be able to help out the team accordingly," he said.
"I actually came in [to the squad last week] with an attitude to try and just help out wherever I can and build on the combinations around me. To try to understand the guys around me, because that will give me a good insight into what I need to do when I get the opportunity."
Foley was understandably disappointed to be benched and Beale felt his pain.
"We worked really hard together to try to take the Waratahs to their first title and we actually achieved that," Beale said. "Bernard's a great team man and he's always helpful and that's what I'm very thankful for.
"We push each other to get the best out of each other and I think that's healthy, that's healthy for ourselves to become better players and it gives us a really good understanding of each other's games so, when we do need that knowledge and experience, we can always call on each other."
Beale has been selected in the starting line-up as he weighs up his future as contract negotiations with the ARU continue. In June, Beale said he had no choice but to look to his options beyond rugby. Beale was frustrated that he had been playing off the bench for the Wallabies in their series against France.
There is a bit to bed down this week in the lead-up to the opening Test againt New Zealand. Although Beale has been part of the Wallabies squad since the June series against France, he has not started a match with either Nic White or Matt Toomua since their under-20s days.
He will also take on the goal-kicking duties with White, neither of whom were their province's primary goal-kickers this year.
The 42-Test playmaker's last shot at goal at Test level ended in that disastrous slip and slide moment in the first British and Irish Lions Test last year, but Beale said he was relaxed about the extra responsibility.
"I've just got to stick to my process, the more balls I kick the [more] confident I get with the contact and approaching the ball," he said. "I've got my own ways and, if handed the duties this week, I'm ready to go.
"As a kicker, you don't want to dwell on your last kick, you always want to look forward."
Wallabies: Israel Folau, Pat McCabe, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Toomua, Rob Horne, Kurtley Beale, Nic White, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Scott Fardy, Rob Simmons, Sam Carter, Sekope Kepu, Nathan Charles, James Slipper. Replacements (one to be omitted): James Hanson, Pek Cowan, Ben Alexander, Will Skelton, Ben McCalman, Scott Higginbotham, Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley, Tevita Kuridrani.