Waratahs set for Kurtley Beale finals boost

NEW South Wales back-rower Dean Mumm has backed star inside centre Kurtley Beale to play in the team's Super Rugby semi-final next weekend, in what would be a huge boost for the defending champions.

Beale was a late withdrawal from Saturday night's 31-5 win over the Reds with a quad strain, and is in a race against time to play in the Tahs' home semi-final against the highest-ranking winner from this weekend's sudden-death finals.

While Matt Carraro was an excellent substitute in the victory, Mumm said Beale would provide an extra attacking dimension.

"He (Beale) is definitely an opportunity to get there," Mumm told APN.

"He's played so well for us this year and he'll be given every chance to play.

"We have some very dangerous backs and he's one of them."

While Beale is still a chance to take part in the finals, Mumm will be watching on from the sideline because he hasn't played the four games required under SANZAR laws since returning from leading English club Exeter last year.

But he will be working overtime on the training paddock and in the video room to make sure his teammates are prepared to deliver in their quest to become the first Australian back-to-back Super Rugby champions.

The 31-year-old said he was directing most of his attention at the set piece.

"It's huge. For these bigger games you rely on the set piece to get your team on the front foot," he said.

"We struggled there in the first half last weekend because we couldn't keep the ball. We need to improve there."

Mumm, a veteran of 83 Super Rugby games for the Waratahs from 2004-2012, and 33 Tests for Australia, also said his team would try to maintain its super-aggressive approach up front in next Saturday's grand final qualifier, despite having three players suspended for lifting tackles in recent weeks.

"Other teams know our physicality is our hallmark and last weekend our defence was really good," he said.

"Guys like Will Skelton, Jacques Potgieter and Wycliff Palu are so important at giving us the go-forward we need to give our dangerous backs an attacking platform.''

This weekend's elimination finals will see South African conference champions the Stormers host the Brumbies in Cape Town, and the Highlanders host the Chiefs in Dunedin.

If the Stormers win they would take on the Waratahs, but a Brumbies victory would see the Tahs clash with the winner of the all-New Zealand final.



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