'I'm a very lucky man' - Kurtley Beale
July 1, 2013
Kurtley Beale describes the Wallabies as a "special group" © Getty Images
Kurtley Beale insists he is fully aware he is fortunate to be back in the Wallabies fold after a tumultuous few months.
Beale, 24, was rushed into the squad for the first two Tests against the British & Irish Lions after two weeks of rehabilitation in May for alcohol-related issues, and he started at full-back in the 16-15 victory in Melbourne on Saturday after further questions about his commitment to the cause following a 4am midweek visit to a fast-food restaurant with team-mate and fellow "Amigo" James O'Connor.
Beale had a mixed night in Australia's narrow win, but vowed to repay the faith in the series decider in Sydney.
"I'm a very lucky man to be back here as a part of this special group," Beale said. "To be a part of it's just amazing, I'm very grateful and now it's just up to me to be actually just doing my role within the team and try and help out wherever I can. Obviously it's a big game next week."
Asked if he had been worried that his latest early-morning venture would cost him his spot in the squad, Beale replied: "No, not really. I mean I didn't break any protocol or anything like that - maybe with the nutritionist - but I was fine. We had the day off the next day and continued on with preparation."
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Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, sitting alongside Beale and O'Connor at a press conference on Sunday, leapt to Beale's defence.
"The group's lucky to have Kurtley as well, as much as he's lucky to be here we're lucky to have him," Deans said. "He's a quality bloke within the group who has some unique capabilities. Everyone's got different things going on in their life, but Kurtley's has been very public, so to stand up to that sort of scrutiny and also perform on a very public stage is a very good effort."
Beale, meanwhile, said he "just had to obviously keep moving on" when asked how he had handled the disappointment of missing two potentially match-winning kicks late in the first Test in Brisbane.
"I couldn't let my role within the team affect the guys around me. I had to keep upbeat and keep my body language up, and I felt I did that. Obviously it did affect me a little bit but in life you've got to go forward and it's the same in rugby. You've got to bounce back, and we had a great opportunity [in Melbourne]."
Kurtley Beale bounced back from Brisbane © Getty Images