Wallaby assistant holds out Kurtley Beale hope
Australia assistant coach Nathan Grey said Monday there was still a chance that controversial back Kurtley Beale could yet feature on the Wallabies` tour of Europe.
London: Australia assistant coach Nathan Grey said Monday there was still a chance that controversial back Kurtley Beale could yet feature on the Wallabies` tour of Europe.
Last week a disciplinary tribunal found Beale guilty of sending an offensive picture message to a female Australian Rugby Union employee, who resigned as a result of the fall-out from the incident, and fined him $Aus45,000 ($38,500, 30,300 euros).
However, Beale was not suspended, meaning he was eligible to play, although new Australia coach Michael Cheika did not include him in the squad for the five-match tour which starts with the non-cap international against the Barbarians at London`s Twickenham ground this coming Saturday.
But Grey, speaking to the BBC in London, said Monday: "Kurtley at the moment is back at home and he is training.
"He hasn`t played for a long period of time so we know he is working hard and trying to get up to speed in terms of his physical condition, and once he has done that he is definitely going to be considered for selection," Grey added.
Last Saturday, the ARU said Cheika had "advised" the governing body that Beale would not join the squad for the European tour.
However, an ARU spokesman left the door ajar for Beale`s return by saying: "From time to time there are changes to personnel during tours, due to injury or other matters, and we will advise if there are any changes to this position."
Beale sent the phone message to team business manager Di Patston, who has since resigned from her position.
The tribunal could not establish whether a second more offensive text message and photograph had been sent by Beale, and he avoided suspension and having his contract terminated.
Beale said he was innocent regarding the second text.
The fall-out over the texts saw Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie, a married man who denied having an affair with Patston when asked if the pair had an "intimate" relationship, abruptly resign.
That led the ARU into a hurried appointment of Cheika, the coach of Super Rugby`s NSW Waratahs, ahead of the European tour.
Following Friday`s tribunal decision, Beale apologised for breaching the code of conduct.
"I`m relieved there is no termination and no suspension and I can now continue playing rugby," he said.
Meanwhile Patston broke her silence over recent events by telling Monday`s edition of The Australian that she had contemplated suicide as a result of media coverage of the texting affair that had all but destroyed her personal and professional reputations and left her feeling physically ill.
The fall-out from the scandal has tended to obscure the fact that the Wallabies were seconds away from beating world champions New Zealand last time out before going down to a 29-28 defeat in Brisbane on October 18 -- McKenzie`s final game in charge.
After the Barbarians fixture, Australia play four full Tests on succesive November weekends including matches against Wales and England -- two of their opponents in the so-called `Group of Death` at next year`s World Cup in England.