Rugby: Beale back training after suspension

Kurtley Beale has missed six matches. Photo / Getty Images
Kurtley Beale has missed six matches. Photo / Getty Images

Wallabies star Kurtley Beale has returned from his disciplinary suspension and resumed training with Super 15 strugglers the Rebels.

Beale trained with the squad yesterday, after being on the outer since being sent home in disgrace from the Rebels' tour of South Africa last month.

The 24-year-old has missed six matches after breaking his hand on March 1 and being suspended indefinitely for punching teammates Cooper Vuna and Rebels captain Gareth Delve in South Africa.

Sent home from Durban, Beale has been under the guidance of the Australian Rugby Union and has been having counselling in Sydney for alcohol-related issues.

While his exile is over, Beale will continue to undertake an off-field programme as agreed between ARU, the Rebels, the Rugby Union Players Association and Beale.

Coach Damien Hill was uncertain if Beale would be in the side to face the defending champion Chiefs at AAMI Park on Friday night.

The Rebels delivered one of their best performances of the season against the Crusaders, let down by some poor discipline late in the match.

However, they are keen to find room for the mercurial Beale, who has been training under the guidance of Wallabies staff while staying with his family in Sydney.

Hill said the Rebels' short turnaround would be draining physically but was probably best mentally for the team.

"I think the sooner you get back to playing after a close loss the better but it's going to be tough on them with a five-day turnaround," Hill said.

Wallabies back-rower Scott Higginbotham cemented his case to be the future permanent Rebels skipper with Delve leaving at season's end.

He has been the stand-in captain while Delve has been out injured and kept the role against the Crusaders with Delve on the bench.

Higginbotham scored a try and set up another and was everywhere in defence.

He even showcased his kicking skills with a giant boot downfield.

"He's a highly skilled player," said Hill. "He's got such a broad skill set that you give him some direction but you let him play in some space as well and that's where he can do some real damage."


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