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Returning Beale must 'find his feet'

Marco Monteverde -

Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt is well aware of the on-field threat Kurtley Beale poses, but says the veteran utility back needs time to “find his feet” before he can be considered any chance to represent Australia again.

Beale, 35, returned to the Super Rugby Pacific arena last month when he was signed as a mid-season recruit by Western Force.

It followed Beale’s return to the sport with NSW club side Randwick in March after being found not guilty of rape and two counts of sexual touching.

“Kurtley’s just finding his feet again … but I’ve coached teams against Kurtley, and he’s shredded us,” former Ireland coach Schmidt said of Beale, who made the most recent of his 95 Test appearances in November 2021 against Wales.

“I know what he’s capable of. I’ve seen it in (a) Test (in Melbourne) a few years ago with Ireland.

“He scored from about 40 metres out, ripping a decent hole in our defence.

“I think it will take a little bit of time for him to find his feet, particularly as it’s a new team (Force) for him as well. It takes a while to slot in and get comfortable.”

Kurtley Beale has impressed since joining Western Force last month. Picture: Janelle St Pierre/Getty Images
Kurtley Beale has impressed since joining Western Force last month. (Image: Janelle St Pierre/Getty Images)

However, having spoken to Force halfback Nic White, Schmidt knows Beale has already had an “influence” at the Force in his fullback role.

“With his calmness and experience in the back field, it’s helping the guys in front of him, and then there’s his own athletic abilities that are very useful from the back.”

Schmidt and his coaching staff have been casting their eyes over a host of players ahead of naming a squad for the Wallabies’ first Test of the year on July 6 against Wales at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium.

“It’s probably a little bit fragmented at the moment,” former All Blacks assistant Schmidt admitted.

“On the back of last year (under previous Wallabies coach Eddie Jones), there were a number of changes during the year, and it just means there’s probably not as much continuity as I’d be used to, or that cohesion that comes with players having played a number of years together, particularly in a national team.

“I’ve come in recent times from two very settled national teams (Ireland and New Zealand), so that will be a new challenge for me. I’m massively motivated by it.

“Nothing’s ever a short-term fix. Everything takes time, particularly cohesion when you’re trying to build that relationship between players when they can almost act instinctively off each other.”

Marco Monteverde - NCA NewsWire

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   Marco Monteverde   

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