Kurtley Beale relishes fresh start
October 16, 2013
Kurtley Beale endured a mixed year for the Rebels and the Waratahs © Getty Images
Kurtley Beale feels lucky to have been given a fresh start by New South Wales Waratahs, saying after witnessing the plight of James O'Connor that he has learned "from the things I've done in the past".
Beale experienced a tumultuous year, which included two suspensions by Melbourne Rebels and being photographed alongside O'Connor in a fast-food restaurant at 4am just days before the second Test against the British & Irish Lions, and he has vowed to follow through with changes he's made to improve his life off the field.
The sidelined Wallabies star is recovering from a shoulder reconstruction, and he is on track to resume contact work in January to press his claim for the Waratahs No.10 jersey.
O'Connor had his Australian Rugby Union (ARU) contract torn up for disciplinary issues, and was unwanted back at the Rebels next season, leaving a return to the Western Force - and a big pay cut - his only Australian rugby option. The strong action taken by the ARU shows their patience has finally run out with a perceived brat culture element that's has destabilised the Wallabies in recent years, and Beale says "I'm lucky the position I'm in now and I'm excited".
Beale has signed a one-year deal to return to the Waratahs, where he made his Super Rugby debut in 2007, and the star playmaker feels being back in Sydney with them can help him rebuild his career.
"I've learned from the things I've done in the past," he said. "I'd rather get them out of the way now than down the track when I guess it would be too late. Without going through those experiences I wouldn't be able to find out what I need to improve on. Coming back to the Tahs, it's an awesome bunch of blokes ... they show a lot of care and I'm grateful for the support."
Beale, 24, spent two weeks in a rehabilitation centre for alcohol-related issues, after an incident in South Africa where he was involved in a punch up with two Rebels teammates. He said he's had to change some things off the field to ensure he doesn't go off the rails again.
"Everyone goes through life and you've got to tweak a few things here and there, and I'm no different," he said. "I'm going to stick to what I know best. I'm very thankful I've got through it now and I'm feeling very confident that with the support around me I'm able to go out there and live my life."
Beale spoke to O'Connor as recently as Tuesday night, and he hopes his friend will stay in Australian rugby. "He's keeping a few things to himself at the moment, which is fair enough," he said. "He's obviously going through a tough time."
Waratahs coach Michael Cheika, meanwhile, won't be "holding Beale's hand" as he wants his marquee signing to take control of his life and be his own man. "To be honest, I'm worried about my own headspace let alone others'," Cheika said. "I'm not going to muck around with that stuff. He's a man. He can make his decisions. Take responsibilities like everyone else, and get on with it."
Toulon secured a key victory over Exeter Chiefs but were made to work hard for their 14-9 triumph at Sandy Park on Saturday
Saracens did what was expected of them as they comfortably navigated past Zebre with a 39-10 victory to keep themselves in contention for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals
Jamie Donaldson will take a three-shot lead into the final day of the Nedbank Golf Challenge after shooting a five-under 67 in Sun City
England have had the kick-off time for their opening World Cup match against Italy in Manaus brought forward three hours to appease TV broadcasters
Newcastle United recorded their first victory at Old Trafford in 41 years and inflicted a second home defeat in four days on Manchester United as David Moyes' task went from bad to worse
Lewis Hamilton won his 22nd grand prix during 2013. How many Britons have won more?
Tiger Woods shot a 10-under 62 to tie his own course record at Sherwood Country Club and lead the World Challenge by two strokes
When did Newport win the unofficial Welsh "championship" with Keith Jarrett creating several club records?
After Jean Todt's re-election, The Inside Line notices that Todt is not a fan of the way in which the FIA's marquee sports grab all of the attention in the wider world of motorsport
In the last few weeks we have seen Heineken Cup posturing, bold statements, u-turns and talk of boycotts - now we finally get to see some European rugby once again
Mesut Ozil, Steven Gerrard and Yaya Toure are the Premier League representatives named on a 15-man shortlist as part of the process to decide the 2013 FIFA FIFPro World XI
David Moyes has vehemently denied calling Everton supporters "a f****** disgrace" following his former club's 1-0 win at Old Trafford
Brendan Rodgers has insisted there is no agreement in place for Luis Suarez to leave Liverpool if they fail to qualify for the Champions League this season
England will face Italy in their opening game of the 2014 World Cup after being drawn in Group D alongside Uruguay and Costa Rica
Phil Jagielka has admitted he feels sorry for his former manager David Moyes after his torrid start to life at Old Trafford but believes the Manchester United high-ups have let him down
FIFA have caused more than their fair share of confusion in announcing the procedure for Friday's World Cup draw, with the mysterious "Pot X" ensuring plenty of head-scratching
With the next 147 maximum break set to be the 100th in the history of snooker, we look back to the quickest made by 'The Rocket', Ronnie O'Sullivan, when he cleared the table in a record five minutes and 20 seconds
ESPN's Alex Perry counts down the top 10 most important golf shots of the 2013 season
Things look like they can't get much worse for David Moyes. However if you fancy Newcastle to pile some fresh misery on Manchester United, you can back them for victory at Old Trafford at 6/1
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner