Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau will be reunited on Saturday night, and it didn’t take much for the fullback to show exactly why Beale’s return is so anticipated by Australia.
One of Australia’s most prolific Test finishers can’t wait to have his Waratahs teammate back, just for the flow-on of confidence the utility has in a side.
“You grow that extra leg when you know you have him beside you. He brings a lot more confidence to your game and it’s exciting,” Folau said.
“Guys like KB they don’t come around too often.
“You give him the ball and he’s always going to create something out of nothing. Guys around him, when they play with him, they grow.”
Folau’s not the first one to come out singing Beale’s praises, with the utility painted as the great hope for the Wallabies in many senses, but it’s not an expectation that worries Beale.
“The feeling in camp has probably been the best it’s been for a while,” he said.
“A lot of these new guys have got a really good feel of what is required being at this level now, what needs be done around the edges and your preparation to actually put out a quality performance.
“I feel like we’re getting that now and a lot of these young guys are stepping up to the mark and it’s pushing the older statesmen so that’s creating a really good healthy competition and it’s allowing us to move forward and that’s important for us as a group.”
He’ll be looking over his shoulder for his old teammate as well, once Saturday kicks off.
“You’re stupid if you’re not. This year he’s been incredible in the June series, he’s been on fire so for me I don’t look to overdo it,” he said.
Though they’ll clearly be attacking weapons, Beale was kick to emphasise the juggling act the Wallabies will need to perfect against the All Blacks.
Kicking was key for the British and Irish Lions in June and Beale will play a crucial role in helping flyhalf Bernard Foley release the pressure valve for the Wallabies, an element that has proven their downfall in the past.
“Releasing pressure is so important to try and still be involved in the game – what’s the point of scoring points and then not exiting well from your half?,” he said.
“We’ve got a game plan and hopefully I can help Bernard direct a team, take a bit of pressure off him to let him just play and back his instinct.
“I feel like we’ve got to back ourselves at times.
“There’s got to be that level of balance and I feel like we’re getting to that stage now.”
A positive showing is not only vital for the Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup hopes, but in a dismal Australian year, rugby can ill-afford a repeat of the 2016 opener.
Folau said there was one thing he wanted spectators to be have no doubt about when they walked out of ANZ on Saturday night.
“We just want to see the fans really seeing that we’re having a real decent crack for the jersey and what it means to us,” he said.
Michael Cheika will announce his Bledisloe team on Thursday, and there aren’t expected to be any major bolters, with Beale all but assured of starting at 12 and Samu Kerevi likely to fill the 13 spot.
The All Blacks name their team on Thursday morning.