Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and his players are refusing to play the blame game with fullback Kurtley Beale, after his costly errors against New Zealand in Sydney on Saturday night.
Beale missed a crucial tackle in both the All Blacks tries and also dropped a simple catch which led to a scrum from which New Zealand scored their second five-pointer.
The Rebels star has played little rugby since returning from a shoulder issue in June and he looked uncharacteristically shaky in the 27-19 loss in the Rugby Championship opener.
While Deans hasn’t suggested Beale’s place is in jeopardy for next week’s return Bledisloe Cup bout in Auckland, the Wallabies desperately need their game-breaking No.15 to produce some of his line-breaking tricks to help punch holes in a speedy and strong New Zealand defence.
Much of the post-match scrutiny contained critical comment on Beale’s out-of-sorts performance, but Deans said that wasn’t the case in the Wallabies fold.
“Not by us, but I don’t know what’s been said elsewhere,” Deans said.
“It’s a team game, that (singling someone out) is certainly not our approach.
“Having a confident team is key and they will support each other.
“It’s definitely not down to one man. One man can’t solve everything.”
Veteran lock Nathan Sharpe, still the only current Wallaby to be part of a successful Bledisloe Cup campaign, also preached the gospel of collective responsibility.
“It’s not an individual game, it’s about us winning the game,” Sharpe said.
“Everyone from 1 to 22 will be wanting to improve their performance.”
Winger Digby Ioane was optimistic Beale would return to form next weekend.
“He was disappointed, but no one’s perfect,” Ioane said of Beale.
“People do play good games, some people don’t, but that’s just the way it is.
“Hopefully next week, he’ll rip it up for us.”