Sydney – Kurtley Beale is in line to make his Wallaby comeback in next weekend's final Test against Wales, despite facing a police charge for assault, coach Robbie Deans said on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Beale is in hot water after an alleged altercation with security guards at a Brisbane hotel ahead of Australia's first Test with Wales earlier this month.
The Wallabies star has been out of action with a shoulder injury as Australia registered victories over the Six Nations champions in the opening two matches of a three-match series.
But he is available to play again after the Australian Rugby Union said it had put on hold its own disciplinary process surrounding Beale until the police matter was resolved.
Beale may go straight into the side at fullback, with Adam Ashley-Cooper possibly moving to the wing to replace Cooper Vuna, who faces a citing charge following a dangerous tackle in the last-gasp 25-23 win over the Welsh in Melbourne to clinch the series on Saturday.
Deans said Beale still had to prove his fitness but indicated he was firmly in contention for selection in Saturday's third Test in Sydney.
“He started some contact work at the end of last week and that will be escalated early this week, and if he gets through that graduation, he'll be good to go,” Deans said.
“Kurtley's a class player so if he's fit and ready to go, clearly he'll have a jersey on. We'll just have to make the decision whether it's a starting role or off the bench.”
Despite two wins over the Welsh, Deans said the Wallabies needed to improve their skill under the high ball, which Beale offered the side.
“We're looking for a better effort, a more complete performance,” Deans said.
“There was some good stuff and we produced a lot of pressure, but the fact of the matter is that we let our foot off the throat and we let Wales back into the game.”
Vuna will appear before a judiciary hearing on Monday after being cited for making a dangerous mid-air tackle on Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny in the second half of the Melbourne Test, for which he received a yellow card.
Vuna was suspended for two weeks in April for a tackle while playing for the Melbourne Rebels in the Super 15. – Sapa-AFP