The Rugby Championship news, Kurtley Beale, squad, Bernard Foley, Australia vs South Africa Springboks, teams,

As the Wallabies attempt to work out who their best fullback is, Kurtley Beale is expected to meet with the Wallabies’ medical staff on Tuesday to determine his Rugby Championship fate.

The Wallabies have used five fullbacks in six Tests, with injury and form playing a role in the revolving door in the position.

Tom Wright’s tough afternoon in San Juan is likely to see yet another reshuffle to the backline, especially with the kick-happy Springboks expected to pepper the Wallabies’ Achilles heel.

Beale isn’t the only one who is in the frame for a Wallabies recall, with Bernard Foley another who is strongly considered for a return after three years in the wilderness.

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Following season-ending injuries to Samu Kerevi and Quade Cooper, the Wallabies have room to add a third overseas based player to complement Rory Arnold and Marika Koroibete.

Even if he is not picked immediately, Beale might be included later in the TRC because it’s understood Arnold is only available for the Tests against the Springboks, with his new Japanese club wanting to get their hands on their million dollar lock.

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While Dave Rennie was coy late last week when probed around whether Foley was in the frame for an extraordinary recall, where he insisted a squad had not been picked yet, it’s understood the 32-year-old is being genuinely considered to make a return to the squad for the first time since 2019.

His experience, which includes two World Cup campaigns and a final appearance in 2015, is a compelling reason to be considered for a return.

Just as important is his durability and his refreshed outlook, both physically and mentally, after three seasons in Japan, and after the Wallabies slumped to their heaviest ever defeat to Argentina on Sunday, Rennie needs directors who know how to win.

Cooper’s absence is highlighted by the fact the Wallabies have not lost a Test with the former Reds playmaker running the show at No. 10 since his return from the international wilderness last year – a run of six straight Tests, including consecutive wins over the Springboks.

Since 2007, only Berrick Barnes (71.4 per cent) has a better winning percentage than Cooper (70.6%) when starting in the No. 10 jersey.

Given, though, Cooper has worn the 10 jersey 51 times compared to the seven Barnes wore, it shows just how important the Japanese-based playmaker is to the Wallabies.

In stark contrast, James O’Connor is on a seven-Test winless run when wearing the jersey and his overall record (18.2% from 11 Tests) is the lowest since Stephen Larkham retired. Noah Lolesio, the other No. 10 in the Wallabies’ squad, has won three of 10 Tests (30%) when starting.

Foley’s record (47.3%) from 55 Tests in the jersey is closer to the overall percentage of the Wallabies over the past decade.

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The Wallabies arrived back in Australia on Monday and by Wednesday will have picked their squad for the remaining four Tests of the tournament, which begin with a clash against the Springboks at Adelaide Oval on August 27.

The squad is expected to include hookers Dave Porecki and Folau Fainga’a, who both were concussed at training on the two-Test tour of Argentina, as well as Angus Bell (foot), Scott Sio (shoulder) and backs Hunter Paisami (concussion) ) and Andrew Kellaway (hamstring).

Allan Alaalatoa, who left Argentina ahead of the second Test (personal reasons), is expected to return.

Regular captain Michael Hooper is unlikely to feature in the squad, at least for the Springboks Tests, having left Argentina on the eve of the first Test in Mendoza.

Nor does there seem to be any appetite for Liam Gill, who will leave Brisbane for Japan on Friday, despite the former Reds star being one of the most complete Australian backrowers over the past decade.

While some believe he is too removed from the international game, the 30-year-old has previously captained Lyon and remains a world class openside flanker with size and skills to match the Springboks and All Blacks.

For now Rennie, whose winning percentage is an unflattering 40% from 25 Tests, will have some important decisions to make over the configuration of his squad.

Beale’s expected return will likely mean uncapped Jock Campbell, who was unused in Argentina despite being the only specialist fullback in the squad, is squeezed out.

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The veteran returned from France last month and had targeted a return against the All Blacks after missing the second half of the Top 14 season because of a calf injury.

“Top 14 is a bit of a slog, your body is kind of disrespected in that regard because the Frenchies just roll you out each week without understanding the long-term effects, hence probably why the injury happened because it was just consistent playing and poor management,” Beale told reporters last month.
“It was 10 games straight (at one point) there, (playing) 80 minutes. It was straight after the spring tour, so it was quite a heavy load but I knew that going over there. It is what it is.
“It’s great to be able to freshen up and come home. I haven’t seen family in two years.
“I’ve come home to make sure I play my part here and achieve the things I want to do in the game, so I’ll be focused on make sure I do everything I can to achieve those things.”

Kurtley Beale poses for a photo during the Wallabies Indigenous Jersey Launch at the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Center on July 04, 2022 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Beale will face pressure from Kellaway for the No. 15 jersey, with the Rebels back performing well in the role in Perth against England before a hamstring injury ruled him out of the past five Tests.

“I’m a competitive block,” Beale added.

“I’m stubborn in my own ways to push and fight for a position and no doubt, I thought Kellaway did brilliantly.

“I’ll be doing everything I can to create the environment for competition to make everyone better. Like a lot of the other guys who have come in, they’ve set the bar high and that’s how we want it, to push ourselves to be the best because we’ll be playing the best.”

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