Beale almost didn't take famous post-siren penalty on Highveld

Ask Kurtley Beale about his match-winning penalty after full-time in Bloemfontein in 2010 and a big grin spreads across his face.

He has revealed, however, that he nearly didn't take the kick from 55 metres out, to break a 47-year drought on the Highveld.

"I remember when we got the penalty they threw the ball to Quade [Cooper], then he threw it back to me and I threw it back to Quade," Beale joked. "Then Pete Harding, the trainer, came on and said: 'You're taking the kick'.

"I hit it pretty sweetly, it felt pretty good coming off the boot. As soon as I hit it I thought I had the distance easy but then I saw it starting out left but it faded inside the right-hand side of the post.

"At training I was easily kicking from 60 [metres] out, which gave me a lot of confidence.

"As soon as it went over I was swamped by the boys. We had some special milestones as well that night with [Stephen] Moorey and Drew Mitchell playing their 50th [Tests], so that was pretty special as well."

Sitting in a Wallabies hotel seven years later, now 28 years old and with 64 Tests to his name, Beale speaks nostalgically about the night Australia took it to the Springboks in their own backyard.

Coached by Robbie Deans at the time, the Wallabies opened up a 31-6 lead before the home side wrestled back momentum to lead with just minutes remaining.

Enter Beale.

"The first 20 minutes was pretty quick because you are playing at intensity on the Highveld," Beale said. "The game was pretty brutal. Once we got past that stage we were in for a challenge, as we always are when playing South Africa.

"To win the [first] game up on the Highveld in 40 years, it was a pretty special moment for me and for the team. It helped build momentum into that year and it turned out to be a pretty good year for us.

"It was obviously a special game. There are some good memories there, especially in the sheds afterwards."

The Wallabies have played at altitude in South Africa twice since then, in 2012 and 2016, and come off second best on both occasions.

The 41-39 victory, one of Australia's most memorable wins since the turn of the century, has at least proved the Wallabies can come away from Africa with something to show for their efforts.

After a 14-hour flight from Sydney, the Wallabies will now bunker down and try and get themselves as acclimatised as possible to the thin air before beginning training on Monday in preparation for Saturday's match.

"I'm sure the coaches will make us all aware of that and make sure we can get our preparation right throughout the week," Beale said. "There's going to be some challenges there and with the travel over, it's going to be a bit difficult for some of the younger guys. We've just got to stay on top of each other and make sure we're all in the right frame to attack the week."

Beale said there was a good feeling among the group after their 45-20 win over Argentina, the side's first victory of this year's Rugby Championship.

Australia's No.12 has warned, however, he and his team need to come out of the blocks firing or run the risk of letting the game get away from them like it almost did in Canberra.

"It's just a matter of making sure we start well and that we're doing it, not waiting for a half-time speech or a bit of a kick up the backside by the senior players," Beale said. "Everyone's just got to make sure we start from when that whistle goes, take that confidence that's definitely been building, minus a couple of losses against New Zealand.

"There's a really good feeling out there on the field so it's a matter of just having that confidence, backing it and believing we can play the way [we want]."

This story Beale almost didn't take famous post-siren penalty on Highveld first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.