TROUBLED Wallabies back Kurtley Beale is in danger of missing the series against the British and Irish Lions.
He has checked into a private health clinic and will take an indefinite leave of absence from rugby to deal with “personal issues”, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) said.
Beale was stood down from his Super Rugby side Melbourne Rebels last week for the second time this season after breaching behavioural guidelines related to a programme to deal with his alcohol issues. “Kurtley has entered a private health facility in order to undertake counselling,” the ARU said. “Any future selection will be dependent upon successful completion of his treatment programme.”
The treatment puts Beale’s participation in the upcoming Lions tour in jeopardy, with Australia coach Robbie Deans set to name a preliminary squad of 25 this weekend for the three-Test series.
The 24-year-old was suspended from the Rebels in March for more than a month after punching two of his team-mates in South Africa and agreed to undergo counselling after being hit with a £25,000 fine by the ARU.
He was reinstated to the Rebels earlier this month with the blessing of his team-mates, but days after returning to action with a try off the bench against New Zealand’s Chiefs, Beale was stood down again for breaching the terms of his programme. A Rebels statement added: “Kurtley will take an indefinite leave of absence from playing rugby to seek assistance in resolving personal issues. Kurtley has voluntarily entered a private health facility in order to undertake counselling for ongoing issues.
“He has done this with the backing of ARU (Australian Rugby Union), RUPA (Rugby Union Players’ Association) and the Melbourne Rebels who congratulate him on this decision to seek assistance. The club asks media to respect Kurtley’s privacy at this time.”
Beale’s former mentor Glen Ella advised the player to admit his alcohol problems and forget about playing the June-July series against the Lions. “I’d love to see him playing against the Lions but, in all honesty, I think that’s (not playing) going to be part of his rehabilitation,” the former Wallabies back said. “I think he needs to sit this one out.
“My advice to Kurtley – and I love him dearly, he’s been a small part of my life – is that he just has to keep away from it and focus on re-establishing his career.”