Australia coach Michael Cheika says he doesn’t know whether he is the best person to put utility back Kurtley Beale on the right path.
Australia coach Michael Cheika says he doesn’t know whether he is the best person to put utility back Kurtley Beale on the right path, but he is certainly not his social worker.
Beale looks set to play in his first Test after Cheika named him as a replacement for the Test with Ireland on Saturday, since he was fined for sending a crude text to then team business manager Di Patston, which resulted in her leaving and Cheika’s predecessor Ewen McKenzie resigning.
Beale, who was also punished for being rude and disrespectful to the team management, has not played for Australia since the defeat in Cape Town by South Africa on September 27.
Cheika, who called up Beale as a late replacement to the squad for the five-match tour last week, was frank about how much he could do to help the troubled but talented 25-year-old.
“I don’t know, I think when he came to the Waratahs I never claimed I was going to be his social worker,” said Cheika.
“I’m just a rugby coach.”
Cheika, who coached top Irish province Leinster from 2005 to 2010 and guided them to the 2009 European Cup trophy, said a frank discussion with Beale, who has had problems with alcohol, was the answer.
“Honesty, straightforwardness, directness, putting him exactly in the picture of what’s required and what’s not needed, and I’ve found that that works to get the best out of him and also a really good, honest relationship,” said the 47-year-old coach.
“No one’s ever going to be 100 percent perfect, me included, there’s no doubt there.
“But if you’re honest more often than not and it’s in the open, then you can usually get a resolution.”
Cheika said Beale had behaved himself when he was with him at the NSW Waratahs but his behaviour towards Patston had been beyond the pale.
“There’s no excuses for what happened,” said Cheika.
“I know that in the time that he was with us in the Waratahs he was impeccable, but there’s still no excuse for what happened.
“It was inappropriate, he’s been through that process and got himself back on track now, and fit, and he’s over here to play, and hopefully we’ll be able to help him regain a bit more support for the right reasons, and not be maligned for the wrong ones.”