Kurtley Beale focused on the ball not Rebels
March 18, 2014
Kurtley Beale has sparked much of the Waratahs' attack in 2014, but the Brumbies shut him down © Getty Images
Kurtley Beale says New South Wales Waratahs' match against the club that sacked him means more to him than a regular Super Rugby fixture, but he vows not to get caught up in settling scores with former Melbourne Rebels team-mates.
Beale, 25, concedes there is some extra fire in his belly given that he was sacked by the Rebels last season for his negative effect on club culture, but he says he can't afford to be distracted from his task at No.12 by personal history after copping a physical barrage from the Brumbies last week in the Waratahs' first loss of the season.
"I don't want to put too much emphasis on it," Beale says. "I think it's obviously there lingering but I've got to play my role within the team. It's an important role and I don't want to make it too complex for myself and put too much pressure on myself. I think we're all humans and we're all old enough to move on and get on with life. I certainly have."
Beale and the Waratahs were ambushed by the Brumbies' rush-defence tactics last Saturday, and the Rebels have spoken of taking lessons out of that successful game plan, especially in regards to shutting down Israel Folau.
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The Waratahs fell to the Brumbies 28-23, with Folau limited to a single late try as the Brumbies' backs rushed up on the NSW attack to restrict the amount of ball to the Wallabies custodian. Rebels inside centre Luke Inman, who will win his 50th Super rugby cap in the match, said his side also had to limit Folau's involvement as much as possible. But he noted they had kept All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg quiet in their 25-19 loss to the Crusaders last weekend.
"You definitely can't kick any high balls to him and you want to get the ball away from him because he can do some marvellous things with the footy," Inman said of Folau. "He's pretty impressive with the ball in hand so we will try and limit the amount of ball he gets although that's hard to do."
The Rebels are also well aware of Beale's attacking presence at No.12, with Inman saying "he's been very effective there".
"They put some points on Queensland and the Western Force, and were unlucky not to get away with the win against the Brumbies," Inman said. "Attacking wise they're very good, and they love the front-foot football."
Beale said the Brumbies' defence had surprised the Waratahs.
"Footwork will be the key," he said as he vowed the Waratahs would continue their attacking mindset against the Rebels.
"If they want to rush hard, laterally they'll be pretty weak. We've got an identity as a backline we want to display. We don't want defences to dictate the way we play."