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Wallabies flop not Beale's fault as coach rings changes

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

PERTH - Wallabies prop James Slipper says it's unfair to single out five-eighth Kurtley Beale for criticism following the side's recent 51-20 loss to the All Blacks in New Zealand.

Calls are growing for Beale to be replaced at flyhalf by Bernard Foley for Saturday night's Rugby Championship clash with South Africa in Perth.

Beale struggled to fire in the key playmaker role during the Eden Park thrashing, but Slipper said the 25-year-old didn't receive much help from his teammates.

"He's a class player. We all know what he can do," Slipper said on Monday.

"The night wasn't his night. A part of that has got to do with the forward pack and the players around him.

"We didn't stick up for him and give him really good ball.

"Our decision making across the game could have been handled a different way.

"We've learned from that. It was definitely a reality check.

"We take full responsibility for what happened that night. It's in our hands to change that this weekend."

With the Wallabies needing to find a replacement for retired winger Pat McCabe (neck), Beale could be switched to inside centre or the wing for Saturday's must-win clash with the Springboks.

Scrumhalf Nic White and inside centre Matt Toomua could be axed in favour of Nick Phipps and Tevita Kuridrani, while James Hanson will replace injured hooker Nathan Charles for his first Test start.

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