Kurtley Beale dropped to Wallabies bench

Bernard Foley will start against the Springboks on Saturday. Picture: REUTERS
Bernard Foley will start against the Springboks on Saturday. Picture: REUTERS


Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie refuses to blame Kurtley Beale for the Bledisloe Cup debacle in Auckland but can't find a spot for him in the starting line-up to play South Africa on Saturday.

Beale and Brumbies halfback Nic White have both been benched for the Rugby Championship clash in Perth in favour of the Waratahs' Super Rugby title-winning halves combination of Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps.

Foley and Phipps came on midway through the second half during the 51-20 flogging by New Zeal in the second Bledisloe Cup match, immediately helping set up Australia's first try against the All Blacks in more than 140 minutes of rugby.

However, McKenzie insisted Beale hadn't paid the price for the Wallabies' lack of penetration, and played down suggestions the experiment of him playing at No 10 didn't go as planned.

"We put him in there against obviously one of the toughest teams to play against," McKenzie said.

"There was good stuff in there, but we didn't get the outcome.

"There's lots of reasons why that was, but it's not Kurtley Beale's fault.

"We still believe we've got the right group of players, how we use them varies depending on who we think should start and who we think should finish.

"We're still looking for the best combination."

Other changes to the Wallabies' backline include Adam Ashley-Cooper shifting to the wing to cover for the retired Pat McCabe (neck), while Tevita Kuridrani has been called up at outside centre.

McKenzie said while it might look like the backline had been shuffled extensively, it was the same group who finished the last match.

"We've effectively ended up with NSW halves, a Brumbies midfield and NSW outside backs," he said.

"So there's something there, but that's just the way it's unfolded - we deal with everyone separately."

The only fresh face in the starting forward pack is the inclusion of fourth-string Wallabies hooker James Hanson, who has been called up after a season-ending injury to Nathan Charles. AAP


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