Wallaby back Kurtley Beale, who is undergoing counselling for alcohol-related issues at a private clinic, returned to action with his Randwick club yesterday, boosting Australian hopes he might be available for the British and Irish Lions series.
Looking relaxed and playing at full-back, the 24-year-old appeared to enjoy the match despite ending up on the losing side as the Galloping Greens went down 38-25 to Sydney University in Sydney’s Shute Shield competition.
Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver watched the match and Beale will now be invited to train with the Wallabies when their pre-series camp opens in Sydney today.
Beale was stood down from Super Rugby action by the Melbourne Rebels for a second time this season last month after breaching behavioural guidelines.
The first time was after he punched two fellow Rebels on the team bus after a heavy defeat in South Africa.
Beale voluntarily entered a clinic on 13 May and was not included in the preliminary Wallabies squad of 25 for the three-Test series against the Lions. Coach Robbie Deans will add six more players to his squad on 11 June, however, and has always said he would like to include Beale if he thought it was in the player’s best interests.
Quade Cooper, another omitted from the initial squad, staked his claim for inclusion yesterday by helping the Queensland Reds earn a bonus-point 33-20 win over Melbourne Rebels.
After a bad start, the No.10 kicked a crucial drop-goal before half-time and barged over for a solo try in the second half to outshine his opposite number James O’Connor – Deans’ first choice as Wallabies stand-off.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Cooper, however. He gave away tries to the Rebels’ Scott Fuglistaller in the 35th minute and Rory Sidey in the 40th when his clearing kicks were charged down.