Australian squad to take on the British and Irish Lions close to being finalised.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says troubled star Kurtley Beale has “turned the corner” in overcoming his personal issues and indicated he could play against the British and Irish Lions.
Beale, who had played barely half-an-hour in the past three months due to injury and suspensions, managed a full 80 minutes for his Randwick club against Sydney University on Saturday.
The 24-year-old, who has completed a two-week rehab for alcohol-related issues, trained with the Wallabies Monday and has put himself in the frame to be added to Deans’ final squad for the three-Test series.
“Kurtley took ownership of his future and you can see it in him,” Deans said.
“I don’t want to talk it up to that end, but we are talking about his life here and him as an individual. The game is an aside. Those decisions (Wallabies selection) are totally separate and they’ll be made in due course.
“The important thing is personally I believe Kurtley can actually see the light,” he added. “He has turned the corner, most evidenced by the fact he took the initiative. I’ve got no doubt his future is bright.
“Selection and the game of rugby is another matter. It’s neither here nor there.”
Deans invited Beale to train with the Wallabies in what was a strong indicator he was being considered for one of the six spots still available in the 31-man squad.
While Deans did not watch Beale play on Saturday, he said he received feedback on his performance.
“I had a brief conversation (with Wallabies manager Bob Egerton),” Deans said.
“I’ve had feedback from a number of quarters, but to be honest it’s not a big deal to me in the first instance. We’ll probably get more out of watching him move through this week. That will give us a greater insight.”
Asked whether it would be a risk to field Beale against the Lions, Deans said: “With every player, who knows what’s going on in people’s lives? That’s what we consider with every player, not just Kurtley. The critical consideration is how will they cope in the game.”
Beale has been in continual off-field strife this season and was suspended by his Melbourne Rebels team for striking team-mates Cooper Vuna and Gareth Delve during the Super Rugby club’s tour in South Africa on March 23.