Kurtley Beale playing for the Wallabies
|Birth name||Kurtley James Beale|
|Date of birth||6 January 1989|
|Place of birth||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||90 kg (14 st 2 lb; 198 lb)|
|School||St. Joseph's College|
|Rugby union career|
Kurtley Beale (born 6 January 1989) is an Australian professional rugby union football player of Aboriginal descent. He plays for New South Wales Waratahs and previous played for the Melbourne Rebels and English club Wasps.
In 2011 Beale received the John Eales Medal, awarded to Australian rugby's best player of the year.
Beale was born in Blacktown, New South Wales, and grew up at Mount Druitt in Western Sydney. In his early years Kurtley played junior rugby league for Western City Tigers, Mt Druitt before converting to Rugby union. He gained a scholarship to attend St Joseph's College at Hunters Hill, known as Joeys, where he played rugby for the first XV team for three years in a row. Beale was selected to represent the NSW and Australian Schoolboys rugby teams between 2004 and 2006. In 2006 Beale captained both the Joey's first fifteen and the Australian Schoolboys teams, and regularly attended training sessions with the NSW Waratahs from the age of 15. He signed with the Waratahs while still only a 16-year-old. At 17, he attended his first Wallabies training camp, on the invitation of coach John Connolly.
Beale's first played senior rugby at the Northern Suburbs club alongside then-Waratahs teammates Al Baxter and Sam Norton-Knight. With the launch of the Australian Rugby Championship in 2007, Beale became the starting five-eighth for the Rams. He played every game of the season in which the Rams went on to become minor premiers. One of the top try scorers and leaders in try-assists, he was awarded the 2007 player of the tournament award for the ARC.
In June 2013, Beale was named to play for Randwick while on leave from the Melbourne Rebels following a spell in rehabiltation for alcohol related issues. He had previously played for Randwick against Gordon in 2010.
Beale played his first senior game for New South Wales against the ACT in January 2007 for a trial game in Wollongong. After coming on from the bench, he scored the first of his many memorable tries by chipping around the winger and outpacing the fullback to score. The game was won by NSW 12–0. Two weeks later, after again coming off the bench, Beale made a late break to assist in the winning try against the Crusaders.
Coach Ewen McKenzie had stated that Beale would not be rushed into the starting line up and would instead play second fiddle in his debut year behind Daniel Halangahu. However, it was no more than two weeks later that he made his starting debut against the Sharks in South Africa, only to lose 22–9. The following week in only his second start as fly-half, Beale scored one of the most memorable tries of the season by chipping over the first line of defence and stealing the ball out of the fullback's hands to score his first five-pointer in Super 14.
Beale became the Waratahs first choice fly-half for the start of the 2008 Super 14 season. He also assumed the goal-kicking duties from Peter Hewat, but Beale's goal kicking was not seen as one of the team's strong points. His defence also became the subject of criticism after the Round 2 loss to the Chiefs as NSW were forced to shift him to blindside wing in defence in order to shore up the midfield. Beale moved to fullback for the 2010 season.
Melbourne Rebels: 2012–13
Beale signed a two-year deal to play for the Melbourne Rebels starting in 2012. His Rebels teammates included fellow test players James O'Connor and Nick Phipps. He began the 2012 season playing at fullback but was switched to fly-half with the imminent departure of Danny Cipriani to England in May of that year. With Beale's help, the Rebels put in one of their best performances since the season began in a narrow loss to the Bulls. The next week the Rebels triumphed over the highly ranked Crusaders, with Beale converting two tries (from 3 attempts) and kicking three penalties. The Rebels narrowly beat the Force the following week in Perth, with Beale once again playing flyhalf.
Rod Macqueen, the former Rebels' coach, said that Beale at number 10 had brought something special to the Rebels and that together with James O'Connor at inside centre, he created the shape of team on the field.
While on tour in South Africa during the 2013 Super Rugby season, Beale punched captain Gareth Delve on a team bus after a match. A post to social media by Cooper Vuna was subsequently re-published on at least one other blog, and Beale and Vuna were sent home early from the tour. Beale agreed to seek counselling for his alcohol related issues. He rejoined the squad and played off the bench against the Chiefs. Beale was again suspended before the Rebels were to play the Blues in Auckland. In July 2013, the Rebels dropped Beale from the squad.
Return to the Waratahs: 2014–16
After two seasons with the Melbourne Rebels, Beale signed a one-year deal with the Waratahs and ARU for 2014. He played at inside centre in every game for the Waratahs during the 2014 Super Rugby season. Beale's combination with Israel Folau at fullback, Adam Ashley-Cooper at outside centre and Bernard Foley at fly-half was instrumental to the team's success. Playing in the final against the Crusaders, he set up the 2 tries to Adam Ashley-Cooper which helped guide the Waratahs to a 33-32 win over the 7-time champions, securing the Super Rugby title.
In May 2016, Beale, agreed to join English club Wasps RFC on a one-year contract with the option for a 12-month extension, for a reported £750,000 per season. However, shortly after announcing the deal, he suffered a potentially season-ending patella tendon injury. He made his Wasps debut in the European Champions Cup in a game against Connacht, scoring a try and receiving a yellow card in the first half.
International rugby for Australia
Early career: 2007–11
Beale made his Australia A debut in the 2007 Pacific Nations Cup. He scored his first try in a 27–15 defeat of Samoa. Soon after, Beale narrowly missed out on being chosen for the Rugby World Cup in 2007, with the selectors opting instead for Berrick Barnes as the backup flyhalf for the Wallabies squad coached by John Connolly.
Beale made his test debut on the 2009 Spring Tour to the Home Nations when he appeared on the wing as a substitute in Australia's 34–12 victory over Wales. He made a number of mid-week match appearances on the tour at fly-half.
2010 was a groundbreaking year for Beale in terms of his international career. He started the test season scoring two tries against Fiji and finished the year with a respectable record of seven tries from 12 tests.
In 2011 Beale received the John Eales Medal, awarded to Australia's best rugby player of the year, and was nominated for the IRB International Player of the Year Award. He was named as part of the Australian squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and was favoured as the starting fullback when fit to play. However, he missed the Wallabies semi-final against the All Blacks due to a hamstring injury suffered in the previous game against South Africa.
Later test career: 2012 onwards
Beale played fullback for the third test against Wales in Sydney in 2012. He later played in three tests of the 2012 Rugby Championship, against the All Blacks in Sydney and Auckland, and against the Springboks in Perth. After his poor performances at fullback, he was benched the following week for the game against Argentina played at the Gold Coast.
Following a knee injury to Quade Cooper, coach Robbie Deans shifted him from fullback to fly-half. He played fly-half in the Wallabies loss to the Springboks in Pretoria, and was selected again at fly-half against Argentina in Rosario where he set up a try for Digby Ioane. Beale also played fly-half in the 18-all draw against the All Blacks in the third Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane, kicking two penalty goals successfully.
On the 2012 Spring Tour, he played fly-half for all of the Wallabies games. In the final match of the tour against Wales, and in Nathan Sharpe's last test match for Australia, Beale kicked three penalty goals and scored the match-winning try.
Following a period in rehabilitation due to personal and alcohol-related issues in 2013, Beale was selected to play for Australia against the British and Irish Lions. Shortly before full-time in the first test, Beale slipped (and missed) while attempting to kick a penalty that would have won the game for the Wallabies. The Lions won 23–21. He played fullback in the final two tests of the Lions series which the Wallabies lost 2–1. Following the series, he was ruled out for the year after being told by new Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie (who had replaced Robbie Deans following the Lions Series loss), to have shoulder surgery to fix the shoulder injury he had suffered eight months earlier on the 2012 spring tour.
In 2014, Beale played in all three test matches against France, coming off the bench for the Wallabies. He scored a try in the second half of the first match of the French Series in Brisbane, and set up a try for Michael Hooper in the third Test. Beale's successful season with the Waratahs earned him the Wallabies starting No. 10 role ahead of Bernard Foley against New Zealand in the first two Bledisloe Cup matches. Following 12–all draw and a 20-51 loss to the All Blacks, Beale was benched for the remainder of the Rugby Championship, with Waratahs team-mate Foley taking over the Wallabies No. 10 role.
Di Patston text controversy
On 29 September 2014, it was announced that Kurtley Beale would be investigated by the ARU over an alleged heated argument between Beale and a Wallabies team official, Di Patston, on a 10-hour flight from Johannesburg to São Paulo. The incident led to Patston leaving the tour early, and she resigned from her position shortly afterwards under stress. Despite the incident, McKenzie kept Beale in the squad in Argentina, but did not name him in the match-day 23 for the match against Argentina.
After the team returned to Australia, it was reported that Beale had distributed allegedly offensive texts and images referring to Patston some months earlier, before the first test against France in June. ARU chief executive Bill Pulver called a code of conduct tribunal into the incident. He suspended Beale from playing pending the outcome, meaning that Beale was not in contention for selection for the third Bledisloe test. According to Iain Payten in The Courier Mail, Patston had agreed to not report the texts to ARU management to give Beale second chance, but that "in the presence of three other Wallabies, Patston spoke to Beale in a Brisbane hotel before the first Test against France and told him she would reveal the contents of the texts if another incident arose". Beale's manager alleged McKenzie knew about these texts back in June, and failed to do anything about it, which McKenzie denied. On 13 October, the texts between Beale and Patston were revealed, with Patston confirming that McKenzie did not know about them in June.
Reports had appeared in the media that some players had become uneasy with Patston’s role in the team and how much power McKenzie had given her, and some believed she wasn't qualified for the position she had, particularly following the revelation that Patston had input into the player disciplinary measures that occurred on the 2013 Spring Tour. McKenzie was questioned at a press conference about whether he had lost the confidence of the players, and was even forced to deny being in an extramarital affair with Patston. Michael Hooper and Adam Ashley-Cooper came out and backed Beale to remain with Australia and Rugby Union, while Christian Lealiifano and Quade Cooper joined McKenzie in backing Di Patston. McKenzie announced his resignation as coach of Australia after the final Bledisloe test.
From the outcome of the independent tribunal, Beale admitted to sending an offensive photo and was fined $45,000 for a serious violation of the ARU Code of Conduct.
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