Wallabies star Kurtley Beale has got a big rap from one of Australia’s other elite sporting identities, as he prepares to embrace two very different challenges.
Beale, who was recently earmarked for a bigger leadership role, by new NSW Waratahs rugby coach Daryl Gibson, is preparing to contest the upcoming Sydney to Hobart in supermaxi Perpetual LOYAL.
Among Beale’s crewmates is recently retired Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke, who spoke glowingly of the Wallabies back.
“KB will be brilliant, he’s a great fellow, so fit, so athletic,” Clarke told AAP.
“He’ll play a big part on the boat and he’s the right personality as well.
“All the guys love him.”
The gifted utility back had a strong World Cup and has turned his career around over the past year, with Gibson considering him a more mature individual than the one who committed a string of off-field indiscretions in previous years.
He might not have been considered ideal mentor material in the past but Beale believes he can now offer something in that area.
“I’m at the time of my career where I’ve gained a lot of knowledge of the game and if I can guide a lot of the young guys coming through with the knowledge I’ve gained, that’s awesome,” Beale told AAP.
“I think it’s only natural that guys like myself, Bernard Foley Rob Horne and Nick Phipps are all looking to fit into those positions.”
“It’s our time now to lead and provide a really good support system in helping the whole squad and the coaching staff get another premiership.
“We’re going to lose a lot of senior players, so it’s important the middle guys from this year have got to step up to those important roles for next year.”
Beale has sailed three times with Perpetual LOYAL and said doing the offshore yacht race would drag him out of his comfort zone again.
“It’s a great way to keep yourself challenged throughout our break and before our big season,” Beale said.
He credited his support staff and work with charity organisations for helping to improve his off-field lifestyle.
“Since last year I’ve found a really good balance with my life, ” Beale said.
“Supporting young kids reaching their goals and being attached to certain charities has definitely helped keep me grounded.”