Beale targets Wallabies No.12 jersey

Kurtley Beale expects Australian rugby will benefit from the tough times it’s going through, as a lot of younger players adjust to the demands of Test rugby.

Utility back Beale has returned to Australia after a stint with powerful English club Wasps.

Beale, who made the last of his 60 Test appearances in the 2015 World Cup final, hasn’t played since injuring a hamstring in the English Premiership semifinals in late May.

He wasn’t concerned at the possibility of going into the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship opener in late August not having played for almost three months and has targeted the Wallabies’ No.12 jersey.

Beale has watched from afar as Australian rugby has struggled at both Super and Test levels.

Every Australian Super team lost more matches than they won this season, while Australia has won just eight of 18 Tests since his last Wallabies’ appearance.

National coach Michael Cheika has blooded plenty of new players in that time.

“It’s obviously some tough times, I think there’s a bit of a transition period at the moment,” Beale said on Monday.

“Obviously a lot of the young kids are being exposed at this level, but I think that’s going to be good for us.

“I think time will tell, that will definitely help us in the years ahead.”.

Beale felt he grew as a player during his time with Wasps.

“I learnt a lot off the coaching up there and learning a lot from the guys next to me, picking their brains on how to play the game,” Beale said.

“Obviously the kicking game is very important at Test level and certainly I was very much involved in growing that part of my game.”

Beale was a regular in the team until 2013, but has more recently been used off the bench, making five of his seven 2015 World Cup appearances as a replacement.

He formed a very good dual playmaking combination at the Waratahs with established Wallabies’ five-eighth Bernard Foley, but recognised he would have plenty of competition for the Wallabies’ No.12 jersey.

“Reece Hodge has been amazing in filling that spot (in 2016), recently Karmichael Hunt has put up his hand, so I think that’s really healthy competition and it’s definitely going to help me get focused,” Beale said.

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