Beale vows to aim up

2011-11-18 10:19
Kurtley Beale (Gallo)

Sydney - With two big-name signings, last year's Super Rugby wooden spooners the Melbourne Rebels are suddenly packed with promise.

Wallabies Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor will join good friend and England import Danny Cipriani to form a potentially explosive play-making trio and lift the fortunes of the competition's newest franchise.

And yesterday Beale moved to dispel any concerns the trio's off-field activities would take the shine off their exploits on the field.

''I think we've all got this expectation of ourselves and what we bring to each other and also to our team-mates, so we don't want to let anyone down and let anyone think that we're only in it for just the fun side of things,'' the 22-year-old said.

The ''fun side of things'' have got a little out of hand for a couple of them in the past year.

There was Cipriani helping himself to a bottle of vodka as part of a prank in a bar while his team struggled through their debut season.

There was O'Connor's big night in the eastern suburbs, which led to his no-show at the Wallabies' team announcement the next morning and subsequent one-Test ban.

And then there was Beale's own mysterious black eye in France. O'Connor and Quade Cooper eventually hosed down speculation, saying it was a scrap between mates and nothing else.

Beale and O'Connor went on to produce impressive, if injury-marred, performances at the World Cup. But Cipriani missed out on selection for the England squad and continued to make headlines for his prolific dating habits.

Beale defended his friend, saying Cipriani was an easy target for the English tabloids and was ready to get down to business.

''He does have a [reputation], I guess playing in England he's dated a few [high-profile women] and obviously he's very popular, he's awesome talent and the paparazzi just got on him from there.

''[But] seeing Danny, he's looking in great shape and he's getting the ship set really well down there with the boys in the pre-season, and he's just really pumped to start next year, he's really switched on and that's the exciting thing.

''A lot of people may have their judgments but that's the way it is and I'm sure he'll turn a few heads next year.''

Beale will be missing when the Wallabies' spring tour of Britain kicks off next week due to a hamstring injury suffered during the World Cup, but said he was glad to have the extra downtime.

Beale was in Sydney on Thursday for lunch with Wallabies greats Lloyd McDermott and Mark Ella, who is also a family friend. Ella, who was recently appointed head of sport at the country's only indigenous broadcaster, National Indigenous Television, said Beale had matured as a footballer and as a person.

''He had a couple of difficult years [at] the Waratahs and now he's gone back to fullback and he's just an accomplished footballer,'' Ella said.

Moving to Melbourne would give Beale time away from ''the spotlight of Sydney''.

''He's got his best mate [O'Connor] down there and he's got Danny, which could be a little bit of a distraction, but collectively they've got to work as one, to win games and try and claim a little bit of a sporting landscape in Melbourne,'' Ella said.

And Beale said he was completely focused on doing his best for his new club. ''At the end of the day, it all comes down to the team because they're the guys making you look good,'' he said. ''I've always got respect for the guys around me and I'll be very upset if I let them down.''

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