Australian rugby
O'Connor welcomes back Kurtley Beale
June 4, 2013
Randwick's Kurtley Beale impressed against Sydney University, Sydney University v Randwick, Shute Shield, University Oval No.1, Sydney, June 1, 2013
Kurtley Beale made an impressive return to rugby for Randwick © Getty Images

Fly-half James O'Connor says troubled team-mate Kurtley Beale has been back to his "bouncy" best at Wallabies training this week.

Beale, who checked out of a rehab clinic for alcohol-related issues late last month, is not a member of the 25-man Wallabies squad but has been invited to train with Robbie Deans' men in Sydney

"It's awesome, he's in good shape and he's in a great mindset," O'Connor said of Beale's return to the Wallabies fold. "We haven't had too much time for me and him to just hang out and chill out but he's buzzing. He's bringing a great vibe around training and all the boys are getting around him and supporting him. KB's a character, he brings positivity and he does bring that buzz to training and to a team environment and all the boys really do thrive on that energy."

Beale has played one Super Rugby game off the bench and a club game for Randwick in the past two months.

He is still in the frame to be one of the six players added to the current squad on June 11 but O'Connor says he is not sure whether Beale will be physically ready for the series opener against the British and Irish Lions in Brisbane on June 22.

"I wouldn't know 100 percent, that's more for the trainers and him to give that final call," O'Connor said of Beale's physical fitness. "But I know he played against Randwick on the weekend and from all accounts he played pretty well and got some good touches. He's looking fit and looking bouncy so that's probably a good indication there."

James O'Connor is relishing the prospect of taking on the Lions

Meanwhile, O'Connor is adamant he is up to the task of playing at fly-half against the Lions despite having only played two of his 37 Tests in the No. 10 jumper.

"It's a huge opportunity as well as very humbling. There's a lot of in-form players who have been playing in that position so it's exciting," he said. "Even looking at the structures and the game plan I think it fits my game quite well and I think I'll be able to serve our team."

"I'm very excited, I've enjoyed my Super Rugby this year, obviously coming off an injury last year I didn't get to play any Test rugby, which was pretty tough and probably one of the lowest points in my career to date. But I'm in a good head space at the moment and the team environment is really up, the boys are keen to learn and we're thriving."

O'Connor added of the Lions' 59-8 victory over the Barbarians in Hong Kong on Saturday night: "I think it was a good hit-out for them, they played quite fluently and you can see the combinations already coming.

"They have threats all around that ruck area and they've got some speed out wide."

© Sportal

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