5 Apr 2013

Team-mate says banned Beale would be welcomed back

11:30 am on 5 April 2013

The troubled Australian rugby international Kurtley Beale, who's been suspended indefinitely for punching two of his Melbourne Rebels team mates, would be welcomed back to the Super Rugby side with open arms, according to his close friend and fellow Wallaby James O'Connor.

Beale was sent home from South Africa and stood down by the Rebels after coming to blows with his captain Gareth Delve and winger Cooper Vuna on the team bus last month following their humiliating 64-7 loss to the Sharks in Durban.

Australian media reports said Beale was affected by alcohol at the time and the 24-year-old said in a statement last week that he had "issues" and was working hard to fix his problems.

James O'Connor says Beale has definitely got the support of his team-mates.

The Australian Rugby Union slapped a "substantial" fine on Beale, but said it would support the player through his rehabilitation.

Beale is also under a legal cloud after being charged with assault following a fracas at a Brisbane nightclub last year.

The Rebels have won just one of their six Super Rugby matches so far this season.