Kurtley Beale will have to improve his conditioning if he wants to regain his place in the Wallaby starting line-up.
This is the view of Wallaby coach Robbie Deans, who has named the playmaking utility back on the replacements bench for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against Argentina.
''One of Kurtley's greatest points of difference was his footwork and his explosiveness. He had the ability to create a foot race and win. He has great instinct, and reads body language superbly.
“But to maximise that you have to be really at the top of your game and on top of your fitness. And he's not at the moment. That's evident. He's not in his 2010 shape,” said Deans.
''Still you don't suddenly go from hero to zero. He's somewhere in between, and continues to offer us an awful lot.
''He will provide a lot coming off the bench late when he is fresh and up against tiring bodies,'' he added.
Deans said improved defensive structures have also diluted Beale’s potency with ball in hand.
''The defensive lines in Test rugby have stiffened up. Every side is finding it harder to score, and that side of the game is getting more difficult. And that's the side of the game which Kurtley is most remembered for,'' said Deans.
''It is also fair to say whether it be as a result of injuries or whatever, he is not as sharp as he has been. He's working hard on that, and will get back there.”
Beale’s teammate Quade Cooper said he has come under unfair criticism.
''I don't think it is a case of him not playing well. 'The way the recent games have been panning out, it hasn't been the best for any of the back three,” he said.
''Kurtley is a player with a lot of expectation on him, and a lot of people have their eyes on him. So if he has a normal game it is noted that he is not as spectacular as he usually is.''
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