Latham doesn’t rate Beale


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Reds and Australia full-back Chris Latham who has played his last rugby game for Australian teams before he heads off to play for English team Worcester has added to the Reds vs Waratahs verbal war.

Writing in the Courier Mail Latham says that he doesn’t rate Waratahs pivot and that Beale is nothing like the full package.

“As good as Kurtley Beale may be for New South Wales with certain skills, I find it hard to rate a player when teammates are being asked to do his work in the front line of defence. If you are going to rate someone, you’ve got to fulfil all the roles of your position.” Latham says.

“But the Waratahs fly-half is sometimes moved to the blind wing or full-back, with another player brought infield to fill the defensive line where the No.10 should be. I raise the issue not as a slight but because the duel of the two young fly-halves will be one of the absorbing themes of the Super 14 match between Queensland and New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium. “

“It wasn’t so long ago that Queensland’s Quade Cooper and Beale were competing at schoolboys level. Make that just 20 months ago. That’s how young they both are. That’s how talented they both are. “

“Accuse me of bias if you like, but I believe Cooper has a far better all-round game – better in attack and taking his place in the front line of defence. “

“In my book, the big difference for the Reds coming into this game compared to the losing years of 2005-2007 is confidence. “

“In those years, the team played the game after a heavy loss, scratchy form or in the the first game of the season. Sure, the Reds were beaten fair and square in each of them, but this year there’s a confidence and try-scoring momentum in our style of play.

“It cuts deeply that my shoulder is in a sling after surgery to reattach my pectoral muscle, and I won’t be part of it on the field. “

“I’d say just a few things to this team. “

“You are uniquely the 2008 team, and remember all the hard work you’ve put in this season to get to this night when pride in the Queensland jersey is intense.

“When I moved to Queensland in 1998, Wallabies great Tim Horan passed on all the interstate game meant. A Queensland-NSW match was cherished as much as a Bledisloe Cup Test by him. It was living and breathing that rivalry, knowing the date on the calendar, making the references to the game months out and knowing the history. “

“I’ve never forgotten the message, and I’m sure that tradition is something that Reds coach Phil Mooney and David Croft, who is playing like two forwards right now, have spoken of this week. “

“I’m sure the Waratahs will also be hungry and positive in their attitude to the game. They have to win to ensure they make the semi-finals.”



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