Super Rugby
Beale admits the pressure got to him
ESPNscrum Staff
June 24, 2011
Kurtley Beale offloads against the Blues, Blues v Waratahs, Super Rugby Qualifier, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, June 24, 2011
Beale was making his final appearance for the Waratahs before his move to the Melbourne Rebels © Getty Images

Waratahs' fly-half Kurtley Beale has admitted pre-match media hype got to him ahead of their Super Rugby semi-final qualifier defeat to the Blues in Auckland.

Beale, who will switch to the Melbourne-based Rebels next season, criticised his own display in the wake of his side's disappointing 26-13 loss at Eden Park. As a result the Blues progress to a final four showdown with either the Reds or the Stormers while the Waratahs must contemplate a future without one of their stars.

"I've learned a lot, dealing with different situations on the field," the Wallabies international told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Tonight I'm disappointed with my game - I should have controlled it a little bit more, I tried to play it out of our half a little too much and just gave them opportunities when we turned it over.

"They're games that I can learn from. If I do get picked later on this year and next year, I can learn from that experience and build on that. I'm still growing as a footballer; there's more learning to do and I'm willing to do that," added the 22-year-old who stepped into the No.10 shirt from his usual fullback berth due to debilitating injury list.

"There was a bit of pressure over here; I saw my face in the paper and it kind of got to me a bit. That's what it's all about. I was pretty disappointed I didn't step up to that expectation, trying to lead the boys around … hopefully later in my career I can look upon that and develop my game into a better game.''

Beale has been the stand-out performer for the Waratahs this season and Waratahs coach Chris Hickey was quick to come to his defence following the game. "Kurtley is a strike player and one of the great things about his game is his confidence to have a crack,'' Hickey said. "Players like that, while sometimes it comes off sometimes it doesn't. The last thing you want them to do is stop trying and go into their shells. I thought Kurtley did fine.''

Phil Waugh has now played his last game for the franchise, following the announcement of his retirement earlier this week. The Waratahs captain was proud of his team, but praised the Blues' axis of Stephen Brett and Luke McAlister. ''You can't question the guys' character or effort, [but] we just played not the smartest football tonight,'' Waugh said.

''We could have played down their end a bit more, not put as much pressure on ourselves as we did. But we had a good crack. The guys, in terms of their character, stood up and we did what we could. I'm pretty proud of the guys. I thought Stephen Brett and Luke McAlister controlled the game very well. Once they had the ball they turned us around and put us under pressure.''

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