Rugby: Beale sees role as pivot for classy backs

By Darren Walton

Kurtley Beale will be back in Australia's gold No 10 jumper for the first time since the 2012. Photo / Getty Images
Kurtley Beale will be back in Australia's gold No 10 jumper for the first time since the 2012. Photo / Getty Images

He's the Wallabies' main man again and says he loves getting his hands on the ball, but Kurtley Beale also knows his job is more about creating opportunities for others.

"I've got some really good players in and around me, so my key role is to try and give them the ball as much as I can, and try and direct the play," Beale said after being named as five-eighths for Saturday night's Rugby Championship opener against New Zealand.

Beale will be back in Australia's gold No 10 jumper for the first time since the 2012 spring tour after beating NSW Waratahs teammate Bernard Foley to the chief playmaker's role.

The classy utility played inside centre outside of Foley throughout the Waratahs' triumphant Super Rugby campaign and was expected to be named on the bench, as he was for the three-test series against France in June.

"For the Waratahs, obviously Bernard's been wearing the 10 jersey, but Kurtley's been playing in that playmaking role and done a really good job," Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said.

"So this is not about saying we're unhappy with Bernie. Kurtley's played really well.

"We've had a few big stages in recent weeks and he's stepped up and been front and centre."

After 12 straight Bledisloe Cup series defeats, McKenzie is urging the Wallabies to take it to the world champion All Blacks at ANZ Stadium.

He has selected his backline on form, but specifically chosen rugged wingers Pat McCabe and Rob Horne to play outside classy centres Adam Ashley Cooper and Matt Toomua, with Beale and fullback Israel Folau to provide the finesse and x-factor.

"When you look at the balance of backline, I'm really pleased with the variety of attack and defence all the players are going to bring," McKenzie said. "They're good, hard, honest players who will take on the line in attack and they won't shirk it in defence."

With Foley cooling his heels on the bench, Beale may also be asked to assume goalkicking duties.

The coach will make a call between Beale and halfback Nic White later in the week and says he's "not stressed about it".

Beale isn't either, having booted the Wallabies to famous wins in the past.

- AAP

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