Rugby Championship

Beale did fine at flyhalf - Foley

2014-09-02 13:30
Kurtley Beale (Gallo Images)

Melbourne - Benched back Kurtley Beale did a good job at flyhalf in Australia's first two Tests of the Rugby Championship given he had not played the position all year, according to his replacement Bernard Foley.

Australia coach Ewen McKenzie demoted Beale and his halfback partner Nic White from the starting side named on Tuesday in favour of the Waratahs' duo of Foley and Nick Phipps for the Saturday's clash against South Africa in Perth.

That Beale was promoted to the position at all before the four-nation tournament was a mystery to many in Australia, with Foley having acquitted himself well in the number 10 shirt during the Wallabies' 3-0 sweep of France in June.

From the reserves bench, Foley and Phipps watched Beale and scrumhalf White struggle to exert their influence in both the drawn 12-12 test in Sydney and the 51-20 thrashing by the All Blacks in the return match at Eden Park last month.

Though the horse had well and truly bolted by the time they came on at Eden Park, Foley and Phipps brought an energy and purpose to the Wallabies' second half that had been sorely lacking earlier.

Too much of a team man to say a word against Beale's turn at flyhalf, a performance largely condemned by Australian media, Foley conceded the experiment had not worked.

"I thought KB (Beale) did quite a good job those couple of games. For a person who hadn't played 10 all year to step up and call the plays I think he did very well," Foley, a team mate of Beale's at the New South Wales Waratahs, told reporters.

"I knew I had an important role in coming on at the back end of the games, trying to bring a different level of energy or intensity when I got on the field.

"The aim was hopefully to come on and try to finish the game off and win the game for the guys but it wasn't to be so I think that's why there's been a couple of changes."

Foley and Phipps were instrumental in the New South Wales Waratahs' run to their maiden Super Rugby title this year, but they will start for the first time together in a Wallabies jersey at Perth's Subiaco Oval.

It will be a nice provincial-level reunion for the pair, who have Waratahs number eight Wycliff Palu in front of them and a trio of Waratahs behind in wingers Adam Ashley-Cooper and Rob Horne, and fullback Israel Folau.

Beale relieved Foley from the bench to good effect during the France series and may act as a strike player again against the Springboks.

"It's exciting to get the challenge to be back at number 10," said Foley.

"To steer the side around is sort of what I've enjoyed all year and ... hopefully this week it doesn't change.

"Coming back in and having the familiarity around me with Nick (Phipps) and Cliffy (Palu) and even having the likes of Israel and Adam Ashley (-Cooper) - the guys that I've relied on all year ... it's definitely a lot more settling and I think I understand their games and hopefully they understand how I try and play the game.

"So I think we can run off each other a little bit and get a bit of continuity that we sort of had at the back end."

Teams:

Australia

15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 James Horwill, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Matt Hodgson, 22 Nic White, 23 Kurtley Beale

South Africa


TBA

Read more on:    wallabies  |  australia  |  rugby championship  |  rugby
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