Kurtley Beale prepares for the rainy first Test against the All Blacks on August 16, 2014. Photo: LookPro
The resignation of Di Patston as the business manager of the Wallabies has escalated a in-house difficulty facing the Wallabies into the most serious crisis confronting the ARU since the introduction of professional rugby.
The alleged text message Kurtley Beale sent to teammates (and inadvertently to Patston) in June denigrated Patston in a way that absolutely requires a full inquiry, which the ARU has instigated.
O’Connor waiting in the wings for a chance at redemption. Photo: Patrick Hamilton, AFP
Yes, I know that James O’Connor has been a prat. An official at the ARU who had to deal with him all the time told me that O’Connor was the worst of the Three Amigos – O’Connor, Kurtley Beale and Quade Cooper.
He would encourage and lead his mates into trouble and then, somehow, slide away unscathed, while the other two copped the blame and the punishments.
Waratahs backrower Wycliff Palu attacks against the Brumbies last weekend. Photo: Roar
I have been genuinely surprised to read and hear suggestion that Michael Cheika’s team will start the Super Rugby final as anything other than favourites.
The Waratahs finished the season in top spot, scored the most tries by some margin, and conceded the second fewest in the competition.
They’ve comfortably been the best team in the competition in the back half of the season, too, and go into the final on an eight-game winning streak.
Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau are making an impact in rugby union. Photo: AAP
When Israel Folau was spotted having a coffee with the NRL’s head of football Todd Greenberg last week, it fuelled speculation that a return to rugby league was on the cards for the dual international.
Combined with sightings of Bulldogs coach Des Hasler at a Waratahs match – reportedly to watch Kurtley Beale play – it had the rugby union community in a slight panic, fearful they may be losing two of their biggest drawcards, and best players, to the 13 man-a-side game.
Folau hosed down any rumours on Fox Sports’ Rugby HQ on Thursday night, proclaiming the coffee was merely a chance meeting, along with highlighting the fact that it was Greenberg’s birthday and the two know each other well.
Match winner . . . Henry Speight. Photo: Planet Rugby
If Steve Larkham can finally rid himself of the Jake White kicking malaise, the Brumbies can make a big noise in the Super Rugby finals series.
First up it’s the two-time defending champion Chiefs, with the bonus of a home game, then the all-expansive Waratahs away, as the first-time minor premiers.
Unless, that is, the Highlanders upset the Sharks at Durban, then they will play the Waratahs, and the Brumbies the Crusaders.