'Curfew' Kurtley returns from injury as Wallabies look to whitewash Wales
21:30 GMT, 19 June 2012
As if beating the Wallabies had not proved hard enough, head coach Robbie Deans played his wildcard on Tuesday and recalled bad boy Kurtley Beale for the final Test against Wales.
The return of ‘Curfew’ Kurtley allowed Deans to name his strongest team of the series and – just to rub it in – he declared Australia are determined to end the campaign ‘three-zip’ rather than let Wales return home with any consolation victory.
It seems a pending assault charge for an alleged attack on a bouncer outside a Brisbane hotel bar is not enough to keep Beale out the side, and the 23-year-old playmaker will certainly bring an extra dimension to an attack already described as ‘the most sophisticated in world rugby’ by Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards.
'Curfew' Kurtley: Beale is back in the Wallabies XV
Beale has not played a Test match since beating Wales in the third place play-off at the World Cup last year but he came through a heavy tackling drill on his problematic shoulder late last week without feeling any tweaks.
The Melbourne Rebel – who became close friends with Danny Cipriani in their time together at the Super rugby outfit – can cause as much damage on the pitch as problems off it with a lightning step and an explosive burst of pace.
On Tuesday he seemed relieved to be talking about rugby again – any questions that alluded to off-field matters were banned.
Beale said: ‘I’m raring to go. It’s been a while since injuring my shoulder so I’m just really pumped to be able to play a Test against such an exciting team. To pass the test on my shoulder I actually did a bit of tackling with Nathan Grey down with the Rebels. He is one hard man and I certainly felt confident after a session with him.
Lengthy absence: Beale has not featured since the World Cup
AUSTRALIA TEAM TO FACE WALES
Beale; Ashley-Cooper, Horne, McCabe,
Ioane, Barnes, Genia; Robinson, Polota Nau, Kepu, Timani, Sharpe,
Higginbotham, Palu, Pocock (capt).
Substitutes: Moore, Alexander, Simmons, Dennis, Hooper, White, Fainga’a.
‘Wales are a great team who have the players to turn it around very quickly. No doubt after losing the first two games they’re going to be coming out firing. They’ll be hurting, when they take their opportunities they can really upset some teams. I’ll be doing my homework and I’ll be expecting some high balls.
‘Their outside backs are incredible – very mobile, strong, big. Defensively we’ve got to be on for the full 80 minutes and we can’t give them any opportunities. Especially Leigh Halfpenny – give him half a gap and he’s gone through. We’re aware of that.’