Super Rugby Round 13 - Blues v Rebels
Rebels focused on Blues not Beale
ESPN Staff
May 10, 2013
The Rebels' Damien Hill looks on after his side had defeated the Force, Western Force v Melbourne Rebels, Super Rugby, nib Stadium, Perth, April 6, 2013
Damien Hill is focused purely on the coming game © Getty Images

Melbourne Rebels insist the latest Kurtley Beale drama hasn't unsettling the side ahead of their Super Rugby round 13 match against the Blues.

The Wallabies playmaker didn't make the flight to Auckland after being stood down for drinking alcohol, breaking a condition of his return to rugby following a month-long suspension, but Rebels coach Damien Hill said the side had become accustomed to playing without him. Beale also missed two games before the ban, breaking his hand in round three. "As is the case with injury and other circumstances, you've got to be adaptable to changes that happen," Hill said. "Our focus is solely on beating the Blues and that's what I need to ensure is the team's mindset."

Jason Woodward has taken Beale's fullback spot at Eden Park while 20-year-old Bryce Hegarty is in line for his Super Rugby debut after being included on the bench. Hegarty is the son of former Manly rugby league player Steve, but he has a rugby pedigree, attending Marist Ashgrove in Brisbane, which spawned former Wallabies skipper John Eales. Hegarty shocked the rugby fraternity when he signed while still at school with Brisbane Broncos, and played in their under-20s team before his move to Melbourne.

Hill said Hegarty was comfortable playing in the back three or at No. 10. "He's got ball-playing skills, a strong running game and he's very resilient. I'm exceptionally confident that given the opportunity, he'll do a very good job.

Hegarty was excited about the chance to make his debut, saying he'd been picking the brains of Test back James O'Connor as he knew he faced a big step up after schoolboy rugby and a few games in the Victorian competition. "James and Jarrod Saffy and Nick Phipps as well have all been really good," Hegarty said. "James has been really good with my game which has been great."

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