Rising star Beale upset by drink-driving revelations
January 31, 2007

The professional rugby career of Australian sensation Kurtley Beale has had a nightmarish start off the field after it was revealed he had been found guilty of drink-driving in Sydney while unlicensed.

Beale, who is due to fly out today with the Waratahs for Johannesburg where he is to make his Super 14 debut against the Lions, was understood to have been distraught last night after hearing he had been named publicly.

Beale, 18, blew twice the legal limit and was charged by police in west Sydney last month, according to a report on Channel Seven television.

He pleaded guilty and was fined $A1500 ($NZ1700).

Beale has been touted as a future Wallabies star because of his playmaking flair but will have to be carefully managed by the Waratahs, who last year had to contend with the walkout of promising loose forward Leroy Houston and Wendell Sailor's suspension for cocaine use.

Beale yesterday received support from Wallabies coach John Connolly, who said the teenager was a potential bolter for the World Cup.

"I think he's just a young guy and he's made a mistake," Connolly told The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"I'm sure he will be a lot smarter for it. It will have no impact whatsoever. It probably brings home to him very much the attention that is paid to the young sports stars these days and I'm sure he regrets every minute of it. But I'm sure he'll be a lot smarter in the future.

"It's a good lesson for the young man. Hopefully it's a bit of a reality dose for him."

The pressure and attention on Beale before his Super 14 rugby debut has been building daily -- to the extent he placed a media ban on himself after the trial against the Brumbies on January 20.

Expectations heightened even further last Thursday when his line break led to the Waratahs' match-winning try against the Crusaders at Aussie Stadium.

Beale is expected to come on off the bench against the Lions at Ellis Park.

Waratahs management would not make any comment on the report but said Beale would travel to South Africa as planned.

NZPA

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