Berliner Tageblatt - Veteran Wallaby Beale has 'fire in belly' after recall

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Veteran Wallaby Beale has 'fire in belly' after recall
Veteran Wallaby Beale has 'fire in belly' after recall / Photo: © AFP

Veteran Wallaby Beale has 'fire in belly' after recall

Veteran Kurtley Beale said Monday he still had "fire in the belly" and wanted to help propel Australia back to the top after completing a remarkable comeback to the Wallabies fold.

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The 35-year-old fullback has been capped 95 times, but not since 2021.

He was arrested in January 2023 on sexual assault charges and suspended from all forms of the game, missing out on playing at a fourth World Cup.

But he was cleared in February of allegations that he always denied and was named on Friday in Joe Schmidt's squad for Tests against Georgia and Wales next month.

"There's a lot of things I still want to achieve in the game and that's first being a good teammate and pushing the group back to the top where we deserve to be," Beale said at a training camp in Brisbane.

Australia's other three playmakers -- Noah Lolesio, Ben Donaldson and Tom Lynagh -- boast just 25 Test caps between them, but Beale said he was not just on board as a mentor.

"If the fire wasn't in the belly, I wouldn't be sitting here," he said.

"If I didn't think I could add anything, it'd be a different story, but having time away and having that experience under my belt allows me to come back and put my best foot forward for the group.

"Individually I'll be pushing myself to be ready for any position or whatever opportunity that comes, but then just (being) that soundboard for the young playmakers in the group or anyone in the group."

The Wallabies have slumped to ninth in the rankings and are looking to bounce back in their first games since their World Cup debacle under Schmidt's predecessor Eddie Jones, when they crashed out in the pool stages.

Veteran prop James Slipper, also 35, said Beale still had plenty to offer.

"KB's a player I've played most of my career with. It's his experience, the way he's come back from a bit of adversity and the way he's gone about his business... he'll add a lot of value to the group," he said.

"When you walk into a room, KB's voice is probably the one you're going to hear first. I wouldn't say he's the loudest but he speaks with a lot of ownership."

Australia meet Wales at home on July 6 and 13 before playing Georgia on July 20.

T.Bondarenko--BTB