Are you for Beale? Steve Hansen left shocked

ALL Blacks coach Steve Hansen is "dumbfounded" by Ewen McKenzie's selection of Kurtley Beale at flyhalf ahead of Bernard Foley for tomorrow's Bledisloe Cup Test at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.

Hansen suggested his Wallabies counterpart might have been told to select Beale (pictured) because of an apparent interest in him from rugby league ranks.

Australian confidence will be high following the Waratahs' recent Super Rugby triumph at the same venue against the Crusaders.

Foley, named on the reserves bench, kicked the late penalty which clinched the title for his team, and Hansen couldn't resist having a dig at the decision to put Beale, who played the whole season at No.12, into the playmaker's role.

"I was dumbfounded by it a wee bit initially," he said.

"I thought 'why would he do that' and I came to the conclusion that maybe Ewen doesn't trust him (Foley) to do be able to do what he wants against us.

"Or if you really think about it, the other guy (Beale) is under contract and league are chasing him so you might start to think maybe the ARU has told him he's got to pick him."

Asked if he would select a player if the New Zealand Rugby Union told him to, Hansen replied: "No."

Hansen sprang a surprise of his own, however, picking Ben Smith at fullback ahead of Israel Dagg. He said the decision was down to Smith's form, particularly on the counter-attack.

Topics:  all blacks ewen mckenzie kurtley beale rugby steve hansen wallabies

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Snitz sizzles to win qualifier with ease

IN FULL FLIGHT: Brisbane jockey Robbie Fradd streaks clear to win the $150,000 NRRA Country Championships qualifier on board Snitz, trained by Matt Dunn, at Clarence River Jockey Club.

SHORT priced favourite sends everybody home happy.

Ballina Players brings popular military drama to the stage

ON STAGE: John Rado as Colonel Nathan Jessep and Dylan Wheeler as Lt Daniel Kaffee in the Ballina Players production of A Few Good Men.

Tickets are on sale for their new production of A Few Good Men

Triumph of dreams ... it all started with one bike

A CLASSIC: Meerschaum Vale's Col McAndrew with his Triumph 1956 Speed Twin which he will show at the Northern Rivers Classic Motorcycle Club's Show and Shine at Alstonville Plaza on March 18.

Col has six classic bikes; 100 expected at show

Local Partners