James O'Connor says Kurtley Beale will be welcomed back into Melbourne Rebels team

Last Updated: 04/04/13 9:22am

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James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale prepare for action with the Melbourne Rebels

James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale prepare for action with the Melbourne Rebels

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Melbourne Rebels star James O'Connor insists Kurtley Beale will be welcomed back into the team when his club suspension ends.

Beale was sent home from South Africa and banned indefinitely by the Rebels after punching captain Gareth Delve and winger Cooper Vuna on the team bus following their record 64-7 defeat by the Durban-based Sharks last month.

But O'Connor said: "The boys want Kurtley back. He's definitely got the support of the playing group.

"I'm a very close friend of Kurtley's and he's a great guy. He'll pull together and stick strong.

Support

"He's got a lot of great mates in his team and we're all with him.

"He's just putting in the hard yards and trying to get fit, and trying to do all the little things to make everything right."

Beale was reportedly affected by alcohol when he came to blows with his team-mates and the 24-year-old said in a statement last week that he had "issues" and was working hard to fix his problems.

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