Beale poised for milestone thanks to generous Cheika
The return ticket
HOW Michael Cheika became coach of the Wallabies, and how Kurtley Beale will bring up his 50th Test cap this weekend, are as inextricably linked as the men themselves.
Ten months ago, Beale’s career began falling apart in this Argentinian city, and the fallout from his clash with Di Patston eventually led to coach Ewen McKenzie’s resignation and Cheika’s appointment.
During that period, Cheika’s support for Beale never wavered and that loyalty is a big reason why Cheika was seen as the right man to take over the national job.
“He is a great leader, he knows how to get the best out of his players and he certainly does that for me,” Beale said.
“He keeps it very grounded, and his honest and straightforward approach gets the best out of me and I know a lot of the other guys react in a similar way.”
Many were washing their hands of Beale while Cheika was figuratively holding his during the messy saga.
“I just felt like he needed some back- up; even when people do some things wrong they need support,” Cheika said.
“God knows I’ve done some things wrong, everyone has … and you still need support at those times.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that what you did was right, but you still need back- up. And I’m also a big believer that not everything can be judged in that heat of the moment.
“My gut feeling was that I should back him, but also be realistic about the fact that what happened wasn’t right. I’m not trying to justify it.
“Sometimes it’s a matter of supporting people they need it.”
And the relationship between the pair can now be likened to father and son, with honesty as the cornerstone.
“I don’t think it’s payback; it’s not like we’ve got a good relationship because he owes me,” Cheika said.
“We’ve always had a good relationship and you know what it’s built on? More often than not, it’s just honesty. I’ll be honest with him, he’ll be honest with me, and that makes life a lot easier.”
And so against the odds, Beale, 25, will reach his milestone match under Cheika.
The last time the Wallabies were here, Beale was left out of the matchday 23 following his mid- flight argument and Australia were beaten by the Pumas.
The text- messaging scandal involving Patston then erupted. The cyclonic whirlwind of his career leads him back to Mendoza a new man, celebrating the achievement and striving for redemption.
“You’re always learning aren’t you? Something’s always going to be coming up each day and that’s something I’ve taken on board,” Beale said.
TRUSTING RELATIONSHIP: Beale ( right) and ( above) with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.