NSW Waratahs star Kurtley Beale admits his re-match against the club who sacked him does mean more than a regular Super Rugby match, however he vowed not to get caught up in settling scores with the Melbourne Rebels.
Beale says he’s moved on from being sacked by Melbourne, and expects his former teammates have done the same.
But the 25-year-old, who was sacked by the Rebels last season for his negative effect on club culture, concedes there is some extra fire in his belly.
After copping a physical barrage from the Brumbies last week in the Waratahs’ first loss of the season, Beale says he can’t afford to be distracted from his task at No.12 by personal history.
“I don’t want to put too much emphasis on it. I think it’s obviously there lingering but I’ve got to play my role within the team,” said Beale on Monday.
“It’s an important role and I don’t want to make it too complex for myself and put too much pressure on myself.
“I think we’re all humans and we’re all old enough to move on and get on with life. I certainly have.”
The Waratahs and Beale were ambushed by the Brumbies rush-defence tactics last Saturday, and the Rebels are taking some lessons out of the ACT side’s successful game plan, especially in regards to shutting down Waratahs super-star Israel Folau.
Coming off their own loss, the Rebels will face a bitterly disappointed Waratahs outfit.
Heavily fancied, the Waratahs fell to the Brumbies 28-23 with attacking ace Folau limited to a single late try.
The Brumbies backs rushed up on the NSW attack to stop the ball making its way to the Wallabies custodian, with the Rebels taking note.
Rebels inside centre Mitchell Inman, who will win his 50th Super rugby cap in the match, said his side also needed to limit Folau’s involvement as much as possible.
They had a warm-up in their 25-19 loss to the Crusaders, keeping All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg quiet.
“You definitely can’t kick any high balls to him and you want to get the ball away from him because he can do some marvellous things with the footy,” said Inman.
“He’s pretty impressive with the ball in hand so we will try and limit the amount of ball he gets although that’s hard to do.”
The Rebels are well aware of Beale’s attacking presence also.
“He’s been very effective there,” Inman said.
“They put some points on Queensland and the Western Force and were unlucky not to get away with the win against the Brumbies.
“Attacking wise they’re very good and they love the front foot football.”
Beale said the Waratahs were caught by surprise against the Brumbies, but wouldn’t let the same happen again, and have vowed to stick to their attacking mindset.
“Footwork will be the key. If they want to rush hard, laterally they’ll be pretty weak,” said Beale.
“We’ve got an identity as a backline we want to display. We don’t want defences to dictate the way we play.”