Golden opportunity – and more counselling – awaits Beale

For a fleeting moment on Tuesday, Kurtley Beale seemed comfortable speaking about his remarkable and fast return to the Wallabies fold after a series of alcohol-related incidents led him to counselling at a Sydney rehabilitation centre.

On day two of the Wallabies’ training camp at Caloundra, Beale answered questions about his off-field troubles that – were it not for so many ”second chances” – would have derailed his career.

That such questions came must also have been expected by Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, who sat to Beale’s right and has spoken so passionately of the player’s self-accountability. Only recently, Deans said it was Beale making the call for help that convinced him he had turned the corner.

To Beale’s credit, as he sat next to Deans, Wallabies captain James Horwill and back-rower Hugh McMeniman before an afternoon training session, it seemed he was starting to relax and understand why outsiders still had questions.

Understandably, Beale spoke of his ”gratitude” to those who have supported him, and for the opportunity he has to play for the Wallabies against the British and Irish Lions in the three-Test series that starts on Saturday week.

”It [a Lions tour] is obviously a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to do it with some of your peers who you have been mates [with] for a long, long time, it’s a great honour, and to represent your country at the highest level like this is a pinnacle,” Beale said.

”I am very grateful to do it, to have the opportunity to be a part of the 31-man squad. There is still a long way to go for myself personally, but it’s great to be around the environment. It’s very positive. The guys are upbeat and looking forward to taking on the Lions.

”I had to work on a few things off the field, and I feel like I have done that now with the support of close family and friends, the ARU, the Melbourne Rebels and a lot of my close teammates.”

Beale said he would continue counselling while with the Wallabies: ”There is a process in place, but I’ll do that when I need to.”

Asked why people should believe he had turned a corner considering his history of re-offending, Beale was calm rather than defensive: ”I think I’ll just keep that to myself,” he said.

”All my teammates know what I am capable of doing and that is what matters. You don’t want to think too far ahead – concentrating on the now is important.”

But then the curtain fell when Deans interjected: ”Let’s concentrate on the footy here, lads.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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