Are you for Beale? Steve Hansen left shocked

ALL Blacks coach Steve Hansen is "dumbfounded" by Ewen McKenzie's selection of Kurtley Beale at flyhalf ahead of Bernard Foley for tomorrow's Bledisloe Cup Test at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.

Hansen suggested his Wallabies counterpart might have been told to select Beale (pictured) because of an apparent interest in him from rugby league ranks.

Australian confidence will be high following the Waratahs' recent Super Rugby triumph at the same venue against the Crusaders.

Foley, named on the reserves bench, kicked the late penalty which clinched the title for his team, and Hansen couldn't resist having a dig at the decision to put Beale, who played the whole season at No.12, into the playmaker's role.

"I was dumbfounded by it a wee bit initially," he said.

"I thought 'why would he do that' and I came to the conclusion that maybe Ewen doesn't trust him (Foley) to do be able to do what he wants against us.

"Or if you really think about it, the other guy (Beale) is under contract and league are chasing him so you might start to think maybe the ARU has told him he's got to pick him."

Asked if he would select a player if the New Zealand Rugby Union told him to, Hansen replied: "No."

Hansen sprang a surprise of his own, however, picking Ben Smith at fullback ahead of Israel Dagg. He said the decision was down to Smith's form, particularly on the counter-attack.


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