Coach Robbie Deans said troubled star back Kurtley Beale still has a chance of playing against the British and Irish Lions despite missing the initial Wallabies squad.
Beale is out of rugby indefinitely to go into rehabilitation for alcohol and personal issues, throwing in doubt whether the mercurial back can recover in time to be considered for selection in the Lions series starting in late June.
Deans unveiled an initial 25-man squad on Sunday minus regular flyhalf Quade Cooper and Beale, but said another six players would be added to the group on June 10 ahead of the opening Test in Brisbane 12 days later.
Deans said he will be watching Beale’s situation over the coming weeks to gauge whether he is physically and emotionally capable of playing a role for the Wallabies.
“The key thing for Kurtley Beale is his welfare at this stage, he’s taken the initiative to put himself through a rehabilitation process and that’s a great step,” Deans said.
“He’s got a chance (of playing) but clearly he has to get through that process and then it will be a case of monitoring his physical and mental state and we’ll go from there.
“It’s possible but it depends on so many factors that we’re better not to guess at this stage.”
Deans said that Beale, who has played 36 Tests since his debut against Wales in 2009, was going through a personally demanding process.
“It’s taken a lot of courage to enter the process and it will be emotionally draining,” he said.
“He has been able, to some extent, been able to maintain his physical state but clearly it will be a watching brief.”
Beale has been in continual off-field strife this season and was suspended by his Melbourne Rebels club for striking teammates Cooper Vuna and Gareth Delve during the club’s tour in South Africa on March 23.
He returned to the side on a strict no-alcohol undertaking, which he breached the night after his comeback in the Rebels’ clash with the Chiefs on May 3.