Beale being groomed for centres role
February 9, 2014
Kurtley Beale is unsure of exactly where he will play this season © Getty Images
Kurtley Beale believes there's room for both Bernard Foley and him in the New South Wales Waratahs' team, and he's ready to play inside centre if required.
Coach Michael Cheika is considering a range of backline options ahead of round one of the Super Rugby competition, including having fly-half candidates Beale and Foley on the field at the same time as dual playmaking options.
With Israel Folau seemingly certain to retain the fullback role where he excelled for the Wallabies in the injured Beale's absence last year, Beale revealed he's being prepared for a possible move to No.12 by one of the game's toughest defensive centres, Nathan Grey.
NSW assistant coach Grey has put Beale's repaired shoulder through its paces to ensure the 25-year-old will be up to the rigours of an increased defensive workload if required in the demanding channel at inside centre.
In his emphatic return to Sydney on Friday in the Waratahs' trial win over Auckland, Beale starred in three positions and combined seamlessly with five eighth Foley, confident later that too many cooks wouldn't spoil the broth for NSW in 2014.
"I thought it worked really well. In saying that, when Jono Lance went in there (at No.12) I think he did the same thing," said Beale. "(But) if that's where I'm going to be I'll throw my hand up. I definitely tested (my shoulder) out. Nathan Grey has been a great asset for us here at the Tahs and each week I'm working on that defence. I'll always be working on that technique stuff. But ... I don't mind where I am in the team. There's some pretty special players in those key positions."
Cheika said he was tempted by making Foley and Beale partners rather than positional rivals, but refused to rule out the mertis of Lance or Rob Horne at No.12.
"We like playing an attacking game so having two ball-distributing players and two attacking threats is often handy, but Jono Lance can fill that role as well and Rob Horne can play a slightly more direct game for us," he said.
Cheika singled out Beale for special praise after Friday's trial, for several moments where he created attacking chances out of nothing.
"I've just got to pick my moments and not overplay my hand," said Beale, who would prefer to play fly-half, but turns up at training not knowing where he's going to play.