Beale has Eng­land wor­ried

The Morning Bulletin - - SPORT DIGEST -

RUGBY UNION: Eng­land coach Ed­die Jones fears Kurt­ley Beale at Twick­en­ham like no other Wal­laby now that the play­maker is on top of the is­sues that once tripped su­per­stars Johnathan Thurston and Wayne Rooney.

To un­der­stand the Jones’s raves for Beale “do­ing things other play­ers don’t even dream of”, you need to re­alise he saw the Wal­laby tee­ter­ing on the precipice of a wasted ca­reer.

Jones urged that “rugby can­not toss Kurt­ley away” dur­ing that tur­bu­lent pe­riod when he needed a more car­ing en­vi­ron­ment to man­age him through sit­u­a­tions where al­co­hol and emo­tion were dan­ger­ous part­ners.

“Rooney was no an­gel at Manch­ester United just as Thurston, in rugby league, used to have is­sues yet they were man­aged smartly and both were very suc­cess­ful,” Jones said. “Play­ing makes Beale happy.” The off-sea­son is the devil for some play­ers and the bonus to Beale’s 17-game stint with English club Wasps in 2016-17 may just have been that busy, up­beat play­ing sched­ule to go with learn­ing the dif­fer­ent points of em­pha­sis in the English game.

Beale has been ter­rific in his nine-Test re­turn this sea­son and has taken to the se­nior player role with rel­ish in the sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment that Michael Cheika and Michael Hooper have cre­ated. The spark that Beale will of­fer at Twick­en­ham on Satur­day is one key in­gre­di­ent that was miss­ing when the Wal­la­bies tum­bled to four losses to the English last year. The 11-Test win­ning streak at their home fortress at Twick­en­ham is un­der siege, and Jones is de­lighted.

— Jim Tucker

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