'Tahs coach says Beale set to play fullback
NEWS: Kurtley Beale is set to start at fullback next season as the Waratahs plan their next step towards Super Rugby title contention.
The 33-year-old Beale is back in Australia for a fourth stint at the Waratahs in a major boost to his Wallabies chances, after previously being subject to rules capping the number of players able to be selected from international clubs.
And while he has a wealth of experience playing inside centre, fullback and off the bench in his most recent season with French Top 14 outfit Racing 92, coach Darren Coleman feels fullback is where he can best utilise the veteran.
The Waratahs won’t have their full complement of players back at training until their Wallabies representatives return in the new year, but Coleman has already hatched plans for how best to use his star recruit.
“I think primarily he’ll play 15 but he has the ability to play 12 (inside centre),” Coleman said.
“We’ve got a few of our centres, Lalakai Foketi, Izaia Perese and now Joey Walton, carrying some injuries, so he may even find himself at centre a little bit as well before we get those guys back.”
Whatever transpires, Coleman said Beale had been a “great” addition to the squad.
“He’s happy, he’s injury-free and he’s super excited to have a big Super season and hopefully catapult himself into the Wallabies,” the coach said.
After hoisting themselves from the bottom of the ladder into the finals last season, the Waratahs are determined to ignore key personnel absences and make the best of the 2023 pre-season.
To keep things fresh, Coleman invited the St George Illawarra NRL side to training on Monday for a cross-code hit-out.
A World Cup camp in the new year will keep the Wallabies from returning until the Waratahs’ third week back after Christmas, giving Michael Hooper, Jake Gordon, Angus Bell and more just over a month to prepare for the new season.
“It’s not ideal for us,” Coleman admitted.
“But the beauty of all our Wallaby contingent … is that all of them were here last year.
“We haven’t re-invented the wheel so they’ll be able to jump back in pretty seamlessly I’d imagine.”