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Injuries and departures give Beale room to make his mark as playmaker

Date

Greg Growden

Chance … Kurtley Beale looks a likely Test five-eighth.

Chance … Kurtley Beale looks a likely Test five-eighth. Photo: Getty Images

THE push for Kurtley Beale to take over the Wallabies Test five-eighth spot next month will turn into a massive shove if he holds his own against Springboks No.10 Morne Steyn in tonight's match against the Bulls in Melbourne.

With Quade Cooper sidelined and James O'Connor not expected to have recovered from his liver damage in time for the June internationals against Scotland and Wales, the Wallabies selectors are seriously considering moving Beale from fullback to five-eighth - especially as he played most of his formative football as a pivot.

Beale is a natural choice to also take over as the Rebels five-eighth, following the franchise's decision this week that Danny Cipriani would be allowed to return to Britain early. Before Cipriani and the Rebels opted to part, there were strong suggestions that their troubled England Test representative would not have made the squad for the Bulls match, after being unimpressive in their last loss against the Waratahs.

Beale should provide better consistency in their midfield play and certainly more forthright defence than Cipriani.

When Rebels coach Damien Hill was asked yesterday what he was hoping from Beale, he replied: ''Some directness in our play.

''In the two back-end of games where we've had him move into No.10, he's really straightened us up and got us over the advantage line early. That is what we will look after again against the Bulls.''

Hill also knows how important this match is for Beale's aspirations to take over as the Wallabies playmaker.

''Any games against teams where there are players representing South Africa or New Zealand always bring an extra element out in their opposites, and I'm sure that will be in the back of Kurtley's mind as well,'' he said.

Beale will also have the other amigo still at the club nearby providing guidance if required. O'Connor will sit on the sideline with the Rebels reserves, and be wired up so that he is in close contact with the coaching staff and players. Like Cooper with the Reds, O'Connor will be the team's authoritative sideline eye.

''For a young bloke, James's knowledge of the game is excellent,'' Hill said. ''He's been involved with us strategy-wise, and we'll have him wired up on game day to get his imput. He's keen to stay involved with the team off the field as much as he can, offer any help he can with training sessions and the games.''

The Rebels are expecting O'Connor, who damaged his liver when he collided with Berrick Barnes in the Waratahs match in Sydney, will return to play against the Reds in Melbourne on June 29.

''He is in regular contact with a specialist down here. We're not quite sure whether he will get back in time for the June Tests, but we're very confident he will be right for the Reds,'' Hill said.

Manly second-rower Cadeyrn Neville has also been promoted.

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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