Former Australia hooker Adam Freier says rugby union must follow the example set by other codes and help the troubled Wallabies superstar Kurtley Beale tackles his issues with alcohol.
Beale was sent home in disgrace from South Africa by his club side, the Rebels, last Sunday after he allegedly punched skipper Gareth Delve and team-mate Cooper Vuna on the team bus following a heavy loss to the Sharks in Durban.
Freier, who serves as the Rebels' media manager, told Sky Sports Radio: "The first thing to make sure is that he is okay and that he can get over whatever's happening to him at the moment because it's just not normal for the kid. So that's the priority at the moment and that's why the process is ongoing."
Beale, who will attend mediation on April 17 over the alleged assault of a Brisbane bouncer last year on a night out with Quade Cooper, will attend an ARU disciplinary hearing next week over his latest indiscretion.
The 24-year-old has already been linked with a return to former club the Waratahs and a possible switch to the NRL with St George Illawarra amid rumours the Rebels are planning to cut Beale loose, but Freier said getting to the root of Beale's personal issues must be the priority.
And he added: "To be perfectly honest the main concern - it's not about cutting Kurtley, it's not about where he's going next year for us and some of the comments that clubs and codes will try and poach him straight away - it isn't fair because right at this point in time the Rebels are just trying to work with Kurtley to ensure that he is okay."
Pressed on what Beale's problem is, Freier replied: "It has to be alcohol, that is the big issue.
"I'm not saying he's Robinson Crusoe, there's a lot of people with the same issue in sport, but we need to address it properly. And other codes have shown when they've seen the problem they've dealt with the person first, and we need to follow suit."
Freier added of Beale's latest indiscretion on the team bus: "He wasn't playing and he certainly was in a state that wasn't acceptable, that's clear as day.
"I mean you're not going to be sober and being able to punch your captain. You can't even be in a tipsy or even nearly drunken state to be doing that, he had to have been intoxicated."