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


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.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45Leicester City Stadium
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 3 0 3 0 -49 0
Uruguay 2 0 2 0 -107 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Canada 3 0 3 0 -71 1
Romania 2 0 2 0 -61 0
View all

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