Beale savours Super Rugby milestone

Darren Walton
Kurtley Beale will equal the record for most Super Rugby caps by a Waratah against the Brumbies

Record-setting Kurtley Beale says there's nothing better than an old-fashioned derby to snap a labouring team out of its funk as he looks to end his distinguished Australian rugby career with a bang.

Beale will equal retired former state and national teammate Benn Robinson as the NSW Waratahs' most-capped Super Rugby player in Sunday's must-win clash with the Brumbies in Canberra.

And he believes the milestone match - in which he'll go head-to-head with fellow Wallabies fullback hopeful Tom Banks - is the perfect opportunity to reignite both his own campaign and the Waratahs' flagging season.

"Every derby game you want to be up there in the face of your opposite number," Beale said ahead of his 148th Super Rugby appearance in the sky blue jumper.

"You want to put your best foot forward for the team first and foremost but, secondly, it does become personal no doubt.

"I know Banksy has already spoken about the opportunity and he's up for the clash and no doubt from one to 15 boys will be into it."

With a 1-4 start in 2020, the Waratahs are languishing 13 points adrift of the pace-setting Brumbies (4-1) in the Australian conference but Beale isn't giving up hope of playing finals football once more before likely heading to France next year.

"Obviously this year has been a bit of a tough start, some changes that have taken a bit of a slow time to adjust to," he said.

"But I feel like we're not far off and what's important for my role is to continue working hard and rubbing off on the young guys coming through, and making sure that we're driving the right standards around the group so we can actually achieve something that we're all very proud of at the end of the year."

The one-time international player of the year nominee didn't spurn overseas riches after last year's World Cup for a dud season with the Tahs and is intent on "leaving a legacy" for the next generation of stars in Australia.

"That's my main focus and driver," Beale said.

Tipped to sign with Top 14 club Racing Metro, the 92-Test veteran has nothing but special memories from his Waratahs career since debuting as an 18-year-old in 2007, then helping NSW to its first and still only premiership in 2014.

"Obviously your first cap is pretty special, your first trip to Africa is quite special; that was almost my first trip overseas as a young kid from western Sydney and to be on a rugby tour was quite eye-opening," Beale said.

"But then you've got games like the '08 (Super Rugby) grand final.

"I happened to start at No.10 and we lost, and I got syndesmosis, I got injured in that game, but it was certainly a great experience.

"That was a special year to be a part of, to be playing in front of your home fans at the SFS, packed house, created so many great memories there.

"And I guess along the way you play with some greats of the game as well. I was very fortunate to play alongside Phil Waugh, Lote Tuqiri, Dan Vickerman, Al Baxter, Robbo; the list could go on.

"As a player, you reflect and just sit back and appreciate those times."