Beale eyes fourth World Cup
SPOTLIGHT: Wallabies playmaker Kurtley Beale has outlined his ambition to return to the Australian national set-up under Dave Rennie as he eyes a place at the 2023 World Cup in France.
The 32-year-old utility back hasn’t featured for the Wallabies since their quarter-final exit at the hands of England at the 2019 World Cup, and has since departed Australia entirely to join powerhouse French club Racing 92.
That doesn’t mean the 92-test international has given up on his test career, though, as he revealed during an exclusive interview with The XV.
“I’m extremely keen,” Beale said of a potential return to the green and gold jersey and the prospect of playing at a fourth World Cup.
“I feel like I’ve got more to give to the game. I’m learning a lot more here in France from world-class players, I’ve got a really good understanding of different plays, I’m in a great position to keep improving as a player.”
Beale told The XV he is yet to hear from Rennie, who took over from previous head coach Michael Cheika following the failed World Cup campaign two years ago, but that hasn’t deterred him as he continues to impress in Europe.
“There hasn’t been any contact from Dave at this stage but my focus is just on playing really well consistently for Racing. Hopefully I’m noticed and I’m given an opportunity if I deserve it.
“And I’ve got to deserve it. Yes, I’ve had the honour of winning many caps for my country, but the jersey is not just given, you have got to earn it and a lot of young players are starting to prove themselves back home and many others are pushing really hard overseas.
“Competition is healthy for a team and I’ll be doing everything I can to earn another Wallaby jersey in the near future.”
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Having met the 60-test threshold required of overseas-based Australian players intending to play for the Wallabies, Beale is primed to push for inclusion in Rennie’s squad from his new home in Paris.
Since joining Racing last year, Beale has dominated at the highest level of club rugby in Europe, leading the Champions Cup in carries (28), clean breaks (10) and metres made (246).
It’s that kind of form that could see him challenge the likes of Reece Hodge, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Tom Banks, Dane Haylett-Petty and Jack Maddocks for places in the Wallabies set-up at fullback and in the midfield.
This isn’t the first time Beale has spoken of his desire to play at another World Cup since leaving Australia for France.
Speaking to Wallabies great David Campese on an Instagram podcast last June, the former Waratahs star maintained he “absolutely” harbours dreams to play at France 2023, regardless of what those who believe he’s past it think.
“You’d say a lot of people would think I’m a long way off, but … I’ve had the opportunity to be at three World Cups now; I’ve got a fair idea on what is required,” Beale said.
“You see in 2015 the impact Drew Mitchell and Matt Giteau had when they came back. A lot of people [were] writing them off and [saying] the young guys should be coming through and given the opportunity, but if you want to win World Cups then you need experience, and in-form players that are coming back and are used to those big-pressure moments.
“So of course I’d love to be a part of it. I’d love to keep playing for the Wallabies forever. I’ll be doing everything I can moving forward, especially in this next chapter, to put my best foot forward to wear the Wallaby gold again.”
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Beale joins former Wallabies loose forward Sean McMahon, who now plays in Japan for Suntory Sungoliath, as one of two Australian internationals based abroad to recently state their eagerness on playing at the next World Cup.
Although he isn’t eligible for Wallabies selection while in Japan with only 26 tests to his name, McMahon told RugbyPass last week that he “would love to go back to Australia and have another crack” at test rugby.
“It’s definitely something I see myself doing, and if that’s a chance to potentially go back before the World Cup and have a crack, I’d definitely keep that on the books for me, for sure.”