CAPE TOWN - Waratahs back Kurtley Beale has revealed he was racially abused during his Super Rugby debut against the Sharks in 2007.
The Wallabies star mentioned the incident in a video interview with Headspace, Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation. Beale didn’t mention who directed the racist comment at him, but said he was called a “black c***”.
“There were instances where I’ve experienced racism. No one knew about it. It was actually my first professional game in South Africa,” Beale said. “At the bottom of a ruck and someone you know has called me a black c***. It was pretty hard to deal with, but whenever I felt that I would just go to my grandparents and they would keep telling to try and use it as a motivation to keep pushing on and keep moving forward in life.”
In the interview, which centres on mental health, he also reveals that he struggled with alcoholism during the opening stages of his career. Beale also reveals that his culture has played an important part in his life.
“I’m a proud indigenous man. My culture is everything to me. Having that there, it certainly allows me to have my own identity and having that connection allows me to grow and gives me the spirit to keep leading my life in the direction I want. It just gives me that strength to keep pushing on through the tough times and allows me to be the person I am.”
Beale is currently in South Africa with the Waratahs, who face the Lions in a Super Rugby semi-final at Ellis Park on Saturday. The utility back is expected to play a major role as the Australians look to deny the Lions a third straight Super Rugby final appearance.