Beale could miss Lions series
Australia back Kurtley Beale could miss this summer's three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions after the Melbourne Rebels announced he will take an indefinite leave of absence from rugby to resolve personal issues.
Beale was suspended by the Rebels for the weekend clash with the Blues after breaching 'behavioural guidelines' - the second time this season his conduct has come under scrutiny.
The first, two months ago, saw the 24-year-old suspended following an altercation with Rebels captain Gareth Delve and team-mate Cooper Vuna on the team bus following a heavy defeat against the Sharks in Durban. He returned to training in April after undertaking a five-week programme to deal with alcohol-related issues and has now volunteered to seek more professional help.
A Rebels statement read: "Kurtley will take an indefinite leave of absence from playing rugby to seek assistance in resolving personal issues.
"Kurtley has voluntarily entered a private health facility in order to undertake counselling for ongoing issues.
"He has done this with the backing of ARU (Australian Rugby Union), RUPA (Rugby Union Players' Association) and the Melbourne Rebels who congratulate him on this decision to seek assistance.
"Any future selection will be dependent upon successful completion of his treatment programme.
"The club asks media to respect Kurtley's privacy at this time."
Whether he is ready to return to face the Lions remains to be seen.
The first Test takes place on June 22 in Brisbane before clashes in Melbourne and Sydney.