VIDEO: Beale backs Tahs' young blood
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Kurtley Beale rates NSW Waratahs teammate Will Harrison is a special player but knows better than anyone the pressure associated with steering the side around the park at a young age.
Coming off a strong pre-season, the 20-year-old Junior Wallabies star made his Super Rugby debut in the opening round and has retained the position for the next two weeks.
The youngster has shown some fine playmaking skills, punctuated by the odd error.
NSW vice-captain and Wallabies utility back Beale, now the veteran of the Tahs backline, attracted similar scrutiny when he played flyhalf in his first season in 2007 at the age of 18.
He entered the senior ranks accompanied by hype generated by an outstanding schoolboys career and can relate to what Harrison is going through.
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“You’ve always got to take that first year with eyes open and just a willingness to learn,” Beale said.
“I think Harro has got that right attitude and hence that’s why he’s getting the opportunity for these first few weeks.”
Beale acknowledged Harrison needed to get better support from his teammates, with the forwards outplayed in their first two games and scoring opportunities wasted by errors.
“He’s a pretty special player Harro, once we start to click a bit and get a bit of momentum from the forwards it will help his game immensely and allow him to kind of play eyes-up footy,” Beale said.
“As a young five-eighth coming into the game, first year of Super Rugby, when your forward pack is not getting that go forward, it becomes a little difficult.”
Beale, who has played his best rugby at fullback and inside-centre, has assisted the young five-eighth through his first season at senior level.
“You try and help guide and support as much as you can, but I think obviously he’s in a big position for the team,” Beale said.
“There’s obviously a lot going on in that channel, in that position, but I think he’s handled himself very well.
“I think the last couple of games, he’s definitely taken a lot of learning.”
Fullback Beale replaced Harrison at flyhalf for the final 25 minutes of last week’s game and is prepared to fill that position on a more permanent basis if the youngster struggles.
“I’ve put my hand up if the position needs to be filled and we need to go to another way of playing,” he said.
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