Sydney - Wallaby back Kurtley Beale, who is undergoing counselling for alcohol-related issues at a private clinic, returned to action with his Randwick club on Saturday, boosting Australian hopes he might be available for the British and Irish Lions series.
Looking relaxed and playing at fullback, the 24-year-old appeared to enjoy the match despite ending up on the losing side as the Galloping Greens went down 38-25 to Sydney University in Sydney's Shute Shield competition.
Fox Sports TV reported that Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive Bill Pulver had watched the match and that Beale would be invited to train with the Wallabies when their pre-series camp opens in Sydney on Sunday.
Beale was stood down from Super Rugby action by the Melbourne Rebels for a second time this season last month after breaching behavioural guidelines.
The first time was after he punched two fellow Rebels on the team bus after a heavy defeat in South Africa.
Beale voluntarily entered a clinic on May 13 and was not included in the preliminary Wallabies squad of 25 for the three-test series against the Lions in June and July.
Coach Robbie Deans will add six more players to his squad on June 11, however, and has always said he would like to include Beale if he thought it was in the players' best interests.
A thrilling runner with plenty of pace, Beale started his career at flyhalf but has mostly been used at fullback by Deans in recent years.
Former Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell, who also turned out for Randwick on Saturday, said he felt Beale was fit enough to go into training and would be able to handle a return to test rugby.
"I'm certainly not forecasting his selection, but I know that if he was to be selected, I'd back the guy," he told reporters at University Oval.
"There's still a process for him to go through and until he's finished that process the corner still needs to be turned, but he's certainly on the right progression."