Sydney - Rugby league great Brad Fittler said under-fire Rebels flyhalf Kurtley Beale would make it in the NRL if he chose to leave rugby union.
According to the stuff.co.nz website
, Beale and his Melbourne team-mate Cooper Vuna are under a cloud after
fighting each other after the Rebels' record loss to the Sharks in
Durban at the weekend.
There is speculation Beale will leave the Rebels when his contract
finishes at the end of this year, with a move back to the Waratahs or a
switch to NRL on the cards.
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika sung the praises of the Wallabies
flyhalf but said he had not spoken with Beale about coming back to
Fittler said Beale was a natural enough athlete to make the switch
to league."He comes from rugby league, he's a pretty good athlete, he'd
be good," the former Kangaroos captain said."He'd be good enough at most
sports if he started it young enough."
Fittler was at Waratahs training on Tuesday at the invitation of
Cheika, who wanted the former NSW Origin flyhalf and Roosters coach
to share some wisdom with his squad. He worked with attack coach Daryl
Gibson on some of the lines the players were running and was even seen
in a huddle with a few front-row forwards.
"It goes without saying all the guys will listen to him, just for
something different, but already you can see he has added something to
our game," Cheika said.
The B-word was never far away, with senior Waratahs Drew Mitchell
and Adam Ashley-Cooper, plus league and AFL convert Israel Folau earlier
in the day throwing their support behind the prospect of seeing Beale
in a Waratahs jersey again.
Cheika said he was concentrating on retaining some of his back-line
players before recruiting from outside and had not talked to Beale.
"Obviously he's had a rough weekend so I'm not sure where that's
going to fall, but from my point of view I'm working on the retention of
our program for the roster next year and I'll see what comes of that
before focusing on the newer guys," he said.
"There's no doubt about the guy as a player … he's a superbly skilled player and I can see that."
Beale is managed by the same agent who brokered the deal for Folau to join the Waratahs.
Cheika has the dynamic fullback high on his"retention" priority list
and said he felt"really confident" about keeping Folau in rugby.
"You never know what goes on behind closed doors but I think from
watching him and the way he's enjoying the game and the talks we've had
with him, I'd be really confident about it," he said.
"I think he's really enjoying himself and that would be a big thing
for him. It's one of the big reasons he left AFL, to enjoy himself. I
understand all the dollars and the negotiations go on in the background
but at the end of the day he made a big decision to leave money to enjoy
himself and get more out of his game, and I think that's what he's
Breakaway Michael Hooper was being rested early in the week to
ensure he is fresh for the Waratahs' round-seven clash with the Force
this weekend. Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau completed most of the long
session with the squad and would probably be available to play this
weekend, while Cheika said No 8 Wycliff Palu would be monitored
throughout the week.
This weekend's match marks the return to Sydney of former head coach Michael Foley, who is now coaching director at the Force.