Pickings are slim, but Beale is still Deans's top 10
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Pickings are slim, but Beale is still Deans's top 10

He may be a case of last man standing but Kurtley Beale is still first choice as the Wallabies flyhalf.

Beale will again wear the No.10 jersey in Australia's final Test of the Rugby Championship against Argentina, after being one of the Wallabies' best among the carnage of 31-8 loss to South Africa at Loftus Versfeld.

The 24-year-old, in his first Test start at flyhalf, was given little room to move by the determined Springboks, who suffocated Australia at the breakdown. But he stood tall as backs Berrick Barnes (punctured lung), Adam Ashley-Cooper (concussion) and Digby Ioane (knee) all went down around him and were forced from the field.

Barnes is likely to be sent home and miss the clash with Argentina, and with outspoken Quade Cooper injured and out of sorts back in Australia, the Wallabies have no other options at flyhalf.

But coach Robbie Deans said he wasn't looking for another.

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''I thought Kurtley was outstanding in the difficult circumstances,'' Deans said. ''We didn't get much ball on the front foot but he was able to create some momentum for us on occasions.

''When you're down to 14, 13, 12 men it's pretty difficult to create too much but he created quite a lot for us, not only in terms of his carry and putting others into gaps but his kicking game as well.''

Barnes was initially cleared of a chest injury after the match and returned to the team hotel in Pretoria, but suffered discomfort during the night and was taken back to hospital.

He was diagnosed with a punctured lung and will remain behind in Johannesburg for the next few days with the team doctor while the side travels on to Rosario in Argentina for its next match.

Ashley-Cooper, who was knocked out just before half-time at Loftus Versfeld, will fly home to Australia.

Queensland Reds back Luke Morahan and Melbourne Rebels lock Cadeyrn Neville will join the Wallabies squad. AAP

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