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Bernard Foley pushes through pain after Kurtley Beale selection shock

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.

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. 

24 comments so far

  • While I'm happy for Beale I'm perplexed by this call. This is a risky selection and a little left field. Beale has not played 10 for over 12 months and it's obviously a very different role than 12. Personally I think Beale is electric but I also think he thrives on space - which you don't get at 10. Foley has been a standout 10 this year and his mix between pass/run/kick has been ideal. I would have gone for Beale off the bench, and subbed him early. The only real win with this selection is it will help lock him down with NSW/ARU for the next 1-3 years, but that's about all I can see as the win.

    You do not test a starting spot like this against NZ. Foley should be starting...

    Commenter
    Jimmy H
    Location
    Blesisloe Town
    Date and time
    August 13, 2014, 5:06AM
    • Yup, Who thinks the AB's will run 13, 6, and 8 at him all day? Silly move for the first test. Foley should have started! I would have even started Tomua ahead of Beale in this test. He (Beale) should come of the bench midway through 2nd 40.

      Commenter
      Hammer
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 6:50AM
    • Have to agree with you on this. I'm quite nervous with Beale as I was with Cooper. Foley doesn't make me nervous at 10. I hope Link knows what he's doing!

      Commenter
      Lillee
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 8:42AM
    • I have to agree - this is a very concerning move. Beale is suspect in defence (AB's will run at him all day long), easily overpowered when caught in posession and is an unreliable goal kicker. On the other hand Foley is good in defense, well balanced in attack and a world class goal kicker. This is a huge mistake, I just hope it doesnt cost Link his job!

      Commenter
      Nicko
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 10:08AM
    • Beale hasn't had a 10 on his back, but he spends plenty of time at first receiver for the Tah's, so that is not a concern. I'm just not convinced his "x factor" is enough to put him ahead of Foley who consistently makes the right decisions, test the line with his running and regularly puts his runners into holes.

      Commenter
      M
      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 10:18AM
  • this is politics.
    beale has been whinging about starting on the bench and using his possible changeover to league as leverage.
    foley was the obvious selection.
    hopefully this non performance related decision doesn't backfire on saturday.

    Commenter
    Nick
    Date and time
    August 13, 2014, 7:23AM
    • I half agree. It is politics in part, but we are not going to beat the AB's with Foley. His game is too narrow, which means it will be easier for the AB's to shut us down than with Beale.

      Commenter
      realrugby
      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 12:14PM
  • I was thinking Perhaps Ewan is anti Foley's moustache, then remembered Beale has upper lip fuzz too. There go that theory.

    Commenter
    The Weapon
    Date and time
    August 13, 2014, 7:42AM
    • This move is purely to keep Beale in Aus. I think it will backfire. The wallabies have been missing a real fly-half for a decade. Every successful team in the world has a solid fly half who has controlled the game for a long period of time. In the last 10 years how many No.10's have we tried? Foley was starting to establish himself and although his kicking style is atrocious he is the best at it at the moment. Given Beale hasn't done any kicking in match situations for a long time I think this is a great risk. I can only summise that Link beleives Wallabies have to win buy a big margin for the goal kicking not to matter. He is kidding himself. History suggests that when Wallabies beat the All Blacks it is more often by very small margins so dropping Foley for this match is a dumb move IMO one Link is likely to regret on Saturday night. I hope the Wallabies prove me wrong though.. Go Wallabies!

      Commenter
      Glen
      Date and time
      August 13, 2014, 7:48AM
      • I don't think Foley has enough to his game for Aus to beat AB's. Him playing means we are more likely to lose by a small margin. With Beale, we have a chance of winning, but may lose by a bigger margin. Again, I think Cooper will be the perfect fit for this team and when our best hookers are back, our best half back is back and Speight is there, we will have the firepower to constantly win. Foley is your perfect stop gap guy, but you don't win RWC's and Bledisloes playing low risk footy. Not if your Australia anyway.

        Commenter
        realrugby
        Date and time
        August 13, 2014, 12:12PM

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