Beale shows off ‘budgie smug­glers’ to Duke

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union - By Daniel Schofield

Kurt­ley Beale had quite the af­ter­noon in Cardiff on Sat­ur­day. First, there was his brazen mug­ging of St­eff Evans to score Aus­tralia’s fourth try, which Wales coach War­ren Gat­land be­lieves de­cided the con­test. Then, there was his com­i­cal at­tempt at scrum­mag­ing while flanker Michael Hooper was in the sin-bin that may have even put Jonny May’s ef­forts against Ar­gentina last year to shame.

But for sheer bravado both acts were trumped by his en­counter with the Duke of Cam­bridge. Roy­alty meet­ing rugby play­ers is noth­ing new. Usu­ally, there is a de­gree of deco­rum and cer­e­mony. That, how­ever, is on royal turf. On Sat­ur­day night, the Duke strode into the Aus­tralian chang­ing room at the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium and there he met Beale, fresh from an ice bath, wear­ing noth­ing but a big smile and his lucky budgie smug­glers.

Ap­par­ently, Buck­ing­ham Palace of­fi­cials were scram­bling to seek ap­proval of the dozens of self­ies taken with the Duke af­ter­wards, but by then Beale had al­ready posted the im­age on In­sta­gram, which as of yes­ter­day af­ter­noon had re­ceived more than 17,000 likes.

“It was pretty lucky,” Beale said, “He came in the sheds and said g’day to the boys, which was cool. First time I’ve met him. He is a really good guy, down to earth. He threw a few jokes around with Bernard [Fo­ley] and I, say­ing ‘who had the bet­ter tache?’ It was good fun and it was nice to meet him.

“I love play­ing in my budgie smug­glers, so they were the last things that I was wear­ing. I just hap­pened to be tak­ing it easy and it was pretty good to have a yarn with him in the sheds. I asked him if he wanted my ones that I had on. I’m sure we’ll be able to or­gan­ise a pair if he wanted some for Christ­mas.”

It is Beale’s un­pre­dictabil­ity on the pitch that Ed­die Jones, the Eng­land head coach, was more con­cerned about yes­ter­day. The 28-year-old has been de­ployed all over the back line dur­ing his ca­reer, but on this tour has been moved to full-back to ac­com­mo­date the ab­sence of the rested Is­rael Fo­lau.

The num­ber on his back only ap­plies the loos­est of con­straints to Beale’s nat­u­ral in­stincts, with coach Michael Cheika giv­ing him li­cence to cre­ate chaos wher­ever he sees fit.

“I’m really en­joy­ing the role,” Beale said. “It’s a bit of a rov­ing role and I’ll play wher­ever the coaches see fit. As a back line, we all have a good un­der­stand­ing of what is re­quired in cer­tain po­si­tions. Some­times you might have to fill in for some­one else and it’s great we have that un­der­stand­ing of each other.”

It may not be a co­in­ci­dence that Beale missed all four of Aus­tralia’s de­feats against Eng­land in 2016. The 28-year-old spent last sea­son at Wasps, where he gained a greater ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the role that the set­piece plays within English rugby.

“I guess in the Premier­ship there is a huge fo­cus around go­ing for­wards and be­ing phys­i­cal up front to lay that plat­form for your backs,” Beale said. “That’s some­thing we’ll be ex­pect­ing at the week­end.”

Royal flush: Kurt­ley Beale de­scribed the Duke of Cam­bridge as ‘good fun’

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