Top sell Cheik, now play Beale at inside centre and get things firing

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    A long chat with Wallaby coach Michael Cheika made up Kurtley Beale’s mind – he’s not going to take up a second year option with London Wasps, and is coming home to the Waratahs and the Wallabies.

    No definite date has been fixed, but the Aviva English premiership final will be at Twickenham on May 24, and with Wasps on top of the table, it’s a fair bet the famous London club founded in 1867 will be in the decider.

    Beale has been a revelation with Wasps, both on and off the field.

    It wasn’t that long ago Beale, James O’Connor, and Quade Cooper, the ‘Three Amigos’, were grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons.

    It seems O’Connor will never learn, while Beale and Cooper have left those bad old days behind them and are playing up to their rich talent.

    I first saw a spindly head-geared 15-year-old Beale play in the St Josephs College first XV in 2004.

    He had the hands and deception of a Mark Ella, he read the game in advance like a Tim Horan, and he had the speed with the ability to beat an opponent like a David Campese.

    That was one helluva 15-year-old.

    Beale spent three years in the Joeys top side, and was far and away the best footballer in the GPS competition, captaining the Australian Schoolboys.

    He was like Ken Catchpole at Scots and Jim Lenehan at St Ignatius in the mid 50s, and John Brass at Sydney High in the mid 60s – simply superb.

    A special mention of Lenehan who was also a cricketer, and even more outstanding as an athlete winning the GPS senior shot put and hurdles in back to back years – the most unlikely of combinations.

    He also boasted the biggest boot I’ve ever seen with long range penalties and clearances into touch to match the acknowledged biggest rugby boot of all time in All Black legend Don Clarke.

    But now Beale is returning home, Cheika must play him at 12 and Israel Folau at 13, pairing the two most exciting Wallaby backs where they can do the most damage.

    It’s no secret Folau is at his most dangerous best when Beale is playing, but all too often Beale’s been on the bench, and Folau has been at 15.

    A tragic waste of talent.

    But a Wallaby backline of halves Will Genia and Bernard Foley, centes Beale and Folau, wingers Reece Hodge and Samu Kerevi with fullback Dane Haylett-Petty would set rugby fields on fire the world over.

    All those possibilities remain to be seen, but for the moment well done Michael Cheika in being instrumental to bring Kurtley Beale back to where he belongs.

    But Cheika mustn’t blow the good work by keeping Beale in the backwater, as he’s done before.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (111)

    • March 11th 2017 @ 5:05am
      MH01 said | March 11th 2017 @ 5:05am | ! Report

      Well thank god that fixes all the wallabies problems. Better call the fire brigade ….Bledisloe is coming home , and the NZ stadiums will burn ….

      Nothing will change…… ABs flogged us plenty of times with Beale at 12

      • March 11th 2017 @ 7:51am
        P2R2 said | March 11th 2017 @ 7:51am | ! Report

        Never hapen mate just keep dreaming…

        • March 11th 2017 @ 1:50pm
          Major said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

          Imagine Lord’s backline combination of Foley-Beale-Folau against Barrett-SBW-Reiko Ioane or Lennett-Brown…
          A try fest for the All Blacks!!!!

          • March 12th 2017 @ 5:12pm
            Lincoln Lense said | March 12th 2017 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

            Beale to this day is so ridiculously overhyped it makes my tooth ache
            The guy was a once in a generation GPS player, was world class in the 2010 Test season and since then drifted between above average and absolutely dire
            That Wallaby backline would get slaughtered btw

      • Roar Rookie

        March 11th 2017 @ 10:27pm
        Kirky said | March 11th 2017 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

        I wouldn’t put Beale anywhere till he learns how to play the game!

        Enough crappy dead wood in the Wallabies now adding another isn’t going to achieve anything!

        The Pom’ Club that paid such a big amount for Beale to play for them, must either have money to waste or are just plain dumb!

        • March 12th 2017 @ 11:26pm
          Bob said | March 12th 2017 @ 11:26pm | ! Report

          Well they are top of the ladder and Beale is playing awesome for them, so I think the investment is working out quite well so far

    • Roar Guru

      March 11th 2017 @ 7:02am
      Fionn said | March 11th 2017 @ 7:02am | ! Report

      A backline of 10. Foley/Cooper, 12. Beale, 13. Folau will not be an international quality defence.

      Also, have you watched Folau over the last two years? He’s no longer Australia’s best attacker. I can’t agree if you think he’s a better outside centre than Kerevi or TK, or that Beale is a better inside centre than Kerevi would be. Kerevi and TK two should be the centre pairings. Kerevi has worked on his passing and offloading and he can kick, and he can bust tackles, and he can defend unlike Beale.

      • March 11th 2017 @ 9:55am
        Old Bugger said | March 11th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        Now you’ve let the cat-outta-the-bag…..and DL was onto something he thought, would light up the ARU and its support-base.

        I would’ve liked to see a few forwards running at a QC-KB-IF d-line.

      • March 11th 2017 @ 12:04pm
        John said | March 11th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

        Not factual again Fionn. zzzzzzzz

        • Roar Guru

          March 11th 2017 @ 12:50pm
          Fionn said | March 11th 2017 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

          Folau was a try-scoring machine for the Wallabies in 2014-15. How many has he scored in his last 35 test – 5?Zero tries in how many matches – 10? 15? Beating defenders and making meters don’t win games, scoring points and stopping the opponents scoring points wins games. Folau currently does neither, especially for the Wallabies.

          If someone who is picked for his try-scoring abilities can’t score tries then he had better do something else really well. Unfortunately, he’s often invisible for large sections of the game, invisible in terms of defensive positioning at fullback, non-existent kicking game.

          Folau isn’t dominating like he once was.

          • Roar Guru

            March 11th 2017 @ 1:05pm
            taylorman said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

            Yes that’s largely true, he continues to get picked when he’s injured, out of form etc etc, but it’s all part of a limited number of choices Cheika has available and every single test Folau is selected there’s always ‘that chance it’s this time’ kind of thing, and he’s the only player that’s been that good in the past to keep getting selected on that basis.

            • Roar Guru

              March 11th 2017 @ 1:14pm
              Fionn said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

              Taylorman, you’re absolutely right about up til now (except in the WC where I think Beale’s form demanded he start at 15, not Folau), but, assuming no injuries in 2017 things can be different if Cheik wants to take a risk. He has some great centre options and some very good outside back options:

              Beale and DHP are both, in my opinion, much better fullbacks than Folau because they can counterattack better (and think about passing, running or kicking when they get the ball rather than just running like Folau), have a kicking game and position themselves better in defence (even though Beale’s tackling sucks).

              DHP and Naivalu are both decent wing options.

              Kerevi, Kuridrani and Hodge are all much better options in the centres.

              No one should be an automatic selection. Folau has been in the time for years as there have been no better alternatives even when his form has declined. We can’t just wait another 15 matches for Folau to ‘come good’. Now is the time for him to compete.

          • March 11th 2017 @ 1:13pm
            John said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

            Haha you are the best. Making metres, beating defenders and offloading creates tries – Folau is not just OK in these areas, he is the best in the world. He is also the best in the world under the high ball. How many categories is the great DHP the best in the world? Or his own team? Zero. Boring!

            • Roar Guru

              March 11th 2017 @ 1:20pm
              Fionn said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

              As I said, possession, making meters, beating defenders does not win games, scoring more points than your opponents does.

              Folau can’t be relied upon to consistently clear the ball from within our 22; Folau often tries too hard to run himself, gets isolated and turns the ball over; Folau isn’t scoring tries; Folau isn’t setting up tries. He is okay defensively but his defensive positioning is very poor.

              DHP is scoring more tries himself, putting himself in the right position to do so (Folau isn’t), and he is passing and setting up more tries. He also has a very good kicking game (his kicking in Super Rugby yesterday demonstrated he should be the Wallaby kicking for touch), his defensive positioning at fullback is better than Folau.

              Folau is not a bad player at all, but he is not in the form he once was, and if DHP has been better the better player in Super Rugby come the internationals then Folau should not be an automatic selection.

              Also, c’mon man, he isn’t the best at beating defenders and making meters even at fullback. There are three NZ fullbacks better at doing those things: Milner-Skudder, Ben Smith and Dagg.

              • March 11th 2017 @ 1:32pm
                John said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

                Wrong. Folau statistically superior in those categories and has been every year he has played.
                DHP isn’t even the best in his team, as mentioned.
                But carry on.

              • March 11th 2017 @ 4:15pm
                Jock Cornet said | March 11th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

                Dhp is not worthy to be Folaus shoelaces. Beale can’t tackle. ROARERS forget you have to tackle. They just love the flick passes and cut outs. Just imagine the ab delight seeing Beale and Cooper together. You have to go hide them somewhere

              • Roar Guru

                March 11th 2017 @ 1:45pm
                Fionn said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

                Well, John, I would imagine that if you broke it into the number of touches each get per game they would be vastly superior to Folau. Regardless, as I said, beating defenders and making meters puts zero points on the board. Scoring points, setting up points and stopping opposition points wins game.

                At the moment Folau isn’t particularly good at any of them.

                Mate, I think DHP is the best in the Force except for maybe TPN.

                Don’t see Folau competing very well against Kepu or even Hooper either in terms of best player on the team.

                Take your glasses off and ask yourself what Folau has really contributed to the Wallabies in the last 24 months, or to the Tahs thus far in the SR season.

              • March 11th 2017 @ 2:06pm
                John said | March 11th 2017 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

                Haha dig up.

            • March 11th 2017 @ 1:27pm
              Jibba Jabba said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

              Is your name John Thomas per chance ?

              • March 11th 2017 @ 1:43pm
                Zero Gain said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

                Playing the man again, as usual.

              • March 11th 2017 @ 3:47pm
                Jibba Jabba said | March 11th 2017 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

                Thats what rugby is all about ….

      • March 11th 2017 @ 4:14pm
        Nate said | March 11th 2017 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

        1 Sio
        2 TPN
        3 Kepu
        4 Skelton
        5 Coleman
        6 Timani
        7 Hooper
        8 Higginbotham (c)
        9 Genia
        10 Cooper
        11 Naivalu
        12 Kerevi
        13 Kurindrani
        14 Folau
        15 Hunt

        16 Latu 55′ TPN
        17 Alaalatoa 60′ Kepu
        18 Robertson 55′ Sio
        19 Arnold 50′ Skelton
        20 McMahon 50′ Timani
        21 Phipps 55′ Genia
        22 Foley 55′ Cooper
        23 Beale 55′ 11-15

        24 Ready
        25 Slipper
        26 Simmons
        27 Dempsey
        28 Louwrens…
        29 DHP
        30 Naiyaravoro

        • March 11th 2017 @ 4:32pm
          Adrian Denyer said | March 11th 2017 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

          Good team Nate.
          I agree with most of it, including all the forwards. I’d have Hooper captain. I would however have Beale at 12 (with Kerevi to 13, and Kurandrani to bench), or Beale at 10 with Cooper to bench

        • March 12th 2017 @ 5:15pm
          Lincoln Lense said | March 12th 2017 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

          Good looking side
          Would swap Skelton for Arnold, Hooper for Pocock/Gill and Hunt for DHP

        • March 13th 2017 @ 5:36am
          mzilikazi said | March 13th 2017 @ 5:36am | ! Report

          Agree with most of your selections. Very interested to see Skelton there….also really rate him, and think he will develop well.

          Would suspect Higgenbotham would find it difficult to get in over Timani or a fit McCalman. So I would play McMahon at 6……I think he is too good to leave till later in any game.

          I hold a very different view to many, and would select any Australian playing anywhere in the world, already capped or not. So change the rules currently in existence. Only two I know of could come in. ….Liam Gill and and Nick White. The latter I have not seen play since he left Australia, but based on his form when he last played for WB’s, would really rate him.

    • March 11th 2017 @ 7:11am
      Ruckin' Oaf said | March 11th 2017 @ 7:11am | ! Report

      Does it cheapen the Wallaby jersey a little when it becomes something that can be bargained away in contract negotiations ?

      • March 11th 2017 @ 7:14am
        riddler said | March 11th 2017 @ 7:14am | ! Report

        pretty sure it has always been a bargaining chip/enticement tool.. even in the amateur days..

      • Roar Guru

        March 11th 2017 @ 7:22am
        Fionn said | March 11th 2017 @ 7:22am | ! Report

        Especially since I don’t actually think we need Beale. He’s a good player, but DHP is on par with him as a fullback if not better, Kerevi is a better 12.

        • Roar Guru

          March 11th 2017 @ 8:39am
          eagleJack said | March 11th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

          I think the Wallabies need every single player who is eligible, to be fit and available.

          I’ve never understood the mentality that “so and so is better so we don’t need player x”.

          Competition breeds success. The more quality players we have pushing for starting spots the better the team will be.

          • March 11th 2017 @ 8:49am
            Ruckin Oaf said | March 11th 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

            Yep the bigger the pool of players available then the more competition for places and the better the team will be.

            Except for number 12. Apparently it doesn’t matter how well other players are performing it looks like the gold number 12 has been given away as an incentive.

            Giving away a Wallaby jersey as a bargaining chip is exactly the opposite of competition breeding success.

            • Roar Guru

              March 11th 2017 @ 8:56am
              eagleJack said | March 11th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

              And you know this how? Based on this article with DL saying he wants Beale at 12?

              All countries use the international jersey as a bargaining chip. The pride, honour, privilege of representing your country can be bigger than any lucrative overseas contract. Cheika has sat down with dozens of guys considering the move. As have the ABs coaching staff.

              It doesn’t mean you are a lock for the jersey. You still need to perform. I’ve always been of the opinion that Beale is our best bench option. He can cover every backline position. Having him back is something to be happy about. But no doubt cynicism will prevail around here.

              • March 11th 2017 @ 10:47am
                Ruckin Oaf said | March 11th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

                Do you reckon Steven Hansen has ever had a meeting with an o/s player along the lines of “Come back son and a black jersey is all yours”

                I don’t. And I think that there’s a big difference in say go overseas and you’ll be ineligible to play for your country and come on back and grab your jersey. And the latter seems to be the case here.

                He’s not a lock for the jersey – are you sure ? if so what do you think Cheika meant when he said “because I’ve got a clear vision of what I want him to do in the team.”

                Sure sounds like he’s locked down a spot – even before he’s set foot on an Australian playing field.

              • Roar Guru

                March 11th 2017 @ 11:02am
                taylorman said | March 11th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

                Very good point and I think avoiding those conversations is something Hansen wants to keep doing for as long as he can.

                But the trend is getting worse. The Piutaus, Lowes, Crudens leaving before they’ve exhausted their AB chances is on the rise and players are now saying, I dont want the AB jersey (as much) anymore.

                So the only difference between Hansen and Cheika is Cheika is further down the track where he thinks players in the NH are his best and sometimes only option.

                But with the threat of the wicked witch of the north, combined with the help they get from SH coaching, players that would be on the shortlist for test selection are now being hidden in the dark recesses of NH club rugby.

                So Hansen’s going to have to act soon, whether that be at the front end, before they go, or adopt the Cheika way, and get on his hands and knees and pick up the phone. That’s the reality of this trend.

              • March 11th 2017 @ 11:04am
                Old Bugger said | March 11th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

                Funnily enough, Shag may or may not have been in the discussions but, Ted did persuade Luke McCallister, to return and havago for the ’07 RWC.

                However I concur, I don’t think Shag would show any interest today, with the cattle he has available at home, to choose from.

              • March 11th 2017 @ 11:55am
                HarryT said | March 11th 2017 @ 11:55am | ! Report

                How is this any different from Nonu, Carter and McCaw rejoining the All Blacks after their time away from NZ rugby.

                Beale has just been on a sabbatical, ha ha.

              • Roar Guru

                March 11th 2017 @ 1:14pm
                taylorman said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

                True OB and part of that is because he’s continued to push players into AB jerseys whenever they show the first signs of being able to compete at the next level up.

                I think the reasons are twofold, one to cover injuries and two to both prevent and cover for early departures.

                James Low could be described as the ‘next off the block’ and it’s these guys that will be in the do I stay, do I go group where their profile is high enough to attract the overseas salary, but not enough to get the jersey. Hansen probably regrets not starting Low at least in one test to give him the taste, but the reality is he’ll face this situation many more times.

              • March 11th 2017 @ 2:28pm
                markie362 said | March 11th 2017 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

                J lowe has arthritis and is unsure if he will have a full career so hes setting himself up now

              • March 11th 2017 @ 1:29pm
                Old Bugger said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

                Harry

                Did Beale have a sabbatical specifically written, into his ARU contract. If yes, then its no different and he was always intending to return to WB rugger.

                If no, then he departed of his own accord/choice and the likelihood of him returning, would be dependent on how the Coach, is thinking.

                My guess is Cheika wouldn’t have asked him to return if, Beale had a sabbatical clause, in his contract. He was always intending to return, after the sabbatical.

              • Roar Guru

                March 11th 2017 @ 1:30pm
                taylorman said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

                HarryT that’s also a very good point in that the very discussion between Cheika and Beale has effectively turned an overseas career in retirement into just a longish sabbatical.

                I think that’s important. One, it proves it can be reversed if the reasons the player left had a non selection for the Wallabies component to it and two, Cheika needs to be very careful about bringing the NH players back and playing them ahead of local produce…the Gitau types, or they will be the next on the bus out.

              • March 13th 2017 @ 5:43am
                mzilikazi said | March 13th 2017 @ 5:43am | ! Report

                EJ, that is a fair point about Beale covering so many positions….agree “Having him back is something to be happy about”

          • March 11th 2017 @ 10:41am
            Redsfan1 said | March 11th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

            Yes but which players will now go overseas to cover Beale’s big salary and next drunken misdemeanour?

        • March 11th 2017 @ 12:05pm
          John said | March 11th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

          ^

        • March 13th 2017 @ 5:39am
          mzilikazi said | March 13th 2017 @ 5:39am | ! Report

          Afraid I have to agree re Beale…..can be brilliant, but has defects. No way would I play him over Kerevi at 12 either.

      • March 11th 2017 @ 9:36am
        Simon said | March 11th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        Yes it does.

    • March 11th 2017 @ 7:31am
      Rt said | March 11th 2017 @ 7:31am | ! Report

      Folau needs to be on the wing. Beale is a very good player but for me he is a super sub particularly because he can cover 10-15. I agree that the happiest person in Australia that Beale is coming back should be Folau. He has the happy knack of putting Folau in space.

    • March 11th 2017 @ 7:33am
      soapit said | March 11th 2017 @ 7:33am | ! Report

      says a lot about aus rugby that someone is argued as a must start wallaby based on them dominating a school comp 10 years ago

      • Roar Guru

        March 11th 2017 @ 12:16pm
        Lano said | March 11th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        I seldom laugh out loud when reading, but that is a classic!

        • March 11th 2017 @ 1:45pm
          Zero Gain said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

          But it is not at all funny or based on anything resembling reality.

          • Roar Guru

            March 11th 2017 @ 2:17pm
            Lano said | March 11th 2017 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

            humour is an entirely subjective emotion ZG and the comment reminded me of something very personal, noting to do with Beale, who I agree is a shoe-into the squad.

          • March 11th 2017 @ 2:37pm
            soapit said | March 11th 2017 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

            sadly its more true than funny personally.

            but maybe ur right zg and im misinterpreting the article. given the school stuff was 99% of the discussion of what beale has actually done on the field and immediately preceded the statement cheika “he must play him at 12” and leaving him on the bench is “a tragic waste of taent” i made the link.

            but perhaps the statement had no argument made to back it up at all or thought behind it and the school stuff was just the usual padding. given the amount of professionalism that gets put into these articles its easy to make the mistake of assuming one section has any link to any other and the whole thing isnt just a unrelated collection of random word count fillers.

      • March 11th 2017 @ 2:52pm
        John said | March 11th 2017 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

        Could also have something to do with Beale being Australia’s best player in SR last year before getting injured. Or him currently dominating the English comp.

        • March 11th 2017 @ 6:09pm
          soapit said | March 11th 2017 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

          yep it could have. strange the author didnt attempt a justification based off either of those things.

    • March 11th 2017 @ 7:34am
      Adsa said | March 11th 2017 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      He will fit into the Tahs and Wallyb’s culture of over entitlement just fine.

      • March 11th 2017 @ 1:46pm
        Zero Gain said | March 11th 2017 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

        Thanks for that comment mate. You certainly feel entitled to post derogatory comments about Australian rugby. You fit in very well on here as well.

        • March 11th 2017 @ 2:23pm
          Adsa said | March 11th 2017 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

          Your right ZG, the Wallyb’s can speak for themselves and they certainly did their talking on the field last year. 4 losses to England, another Bledisloe white wash with the first Bled an absolute embarrassment for their supporters, throw in a loss to Ireland and the Boks along the way. And now the latest saviour for the Wallyb’s has a track record of poor defence, punching his captain after a few drinks and sends vile images to female ARU staff.
          Roll on the clown show.

          • March 11th 2017 @ 2:55pm
            John said | March 11th 2017 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

            New record for diabolical spelling and grammar, wow!!! #clownirony

        • March 12th 2017 @ 6:53am
          Bamboo said | March 12th 2017 @ 6:53am | ! Report

          He does have a point though. Look at the turnover of coaches over the last 5 years at SR and Wallaby level. Its always the coaches fault….

          There is a bit of a d*ckhead mentality among a lot of Australian rugby teams. Whether its the fact that you’re more than likely a Sydney or Brisbane private school boy, or the fact that there is such a low pool of talent that you’re not going to be moved on any time soon, worst case you move yourself on to a better pay cheque in Europe or Japan, I don’t know.

          It was our then Captain Michael Hooper who sent those first texts by the way. Now former captain.

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