Beale makes rugby return one month after being found not guilty of rape

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Beale makes rugby return one month after being found not guilty of rape

Kurtley Beale was cleared of one count of sexual intercourse without consent and two counts of sexual touching; the 35-year-old was suspended from all rugby after his arrest in December 2022; Beale played for Randwick against Brothers in his first match in more than 14 months on Saturday

Saturday 16 March 2024 11:06, UK

Australia international Kurtley Beale played his first match in more than 14 months in Brisbane on Saturday, returning to the field in the Australian Club Championship a month after being found not guilty of rape by a Sydney court.

Beale was suspended from all rugby after his arrest in December 2022 and the case cost him the chance of playing at a fourth World Cup for the Wallabies in France last year.

Beale was found not guilty of raping a woman in February this year in the bathroom of a Sydney pub in 2022.

A jury deliberated for less than two hours following a two-week trial, with Beale cleared of one count of sexual intercourse without consent and two counts of sexual touching.

The 35-year-old’s contract with the New South Wales Waratahs expired during his suspension and on Saturday he was in the green shirt of Randwick playing against Brothers in the annual contest between the club champions of Sydney and Brisbane.

Beale took the flight up to Queensland on Friday despite the death of his brother William this week.

Playing at flyhalf opposite Queensland Reds pivot Lawson Creighton, Beale looked fit and his quality was clear in the hour he played even if Randwick lost 25-18 at Crosby Park.

Beale, a teenage prodigy marked out as a future Wallabies flyhalf from a young age, has won 95 caps for Australia in various positions since his debut in 2009.

He said in an interview last week that he still wanted to play for his country and harboured an ambition to become the first indigenous Australian to win 100 Wallabies caps.

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