Beale ruled out of Blacks battle

Alex Lowe

Full-back Kurtley Beale has been ruled out of Australia's Rugby World Cup semi-final against New Zealand with a hamstring strain.

Beale was initially named in the side as coach Robbie Deans was determined to give Australia's player of the year every chance to prove his fitness.

But the 22-year-old was withdrawn prior to today's captain's run at North Harbour Stadium, in which he was only able to play a limited part.

As a result, Adam Ashley-Cooper will switch to full-back and Anthony Fainga'a will start at outside centre. Rob Horne comes onto the bench.

"It's disappointing but is an outcome we'd catered for through our preparation this week," Deans said.

"We always anticipated it would be unlikely that Kurtley would be ready, but we wanted to give him every opportunity. Unfortunately, time has run out.

"It was important for the clarity of the preparation, both for the team and for Kurtley, that we made the decision today."

Beale is confident he will be fit to play next week in what he hopes will be the Wallabies' fourth World Cup final.

But Australia will have to beat the All Blacks at their spiritual home of Eden Park for the first time since 1986.

"It's going to be tough watching it from the sidelines, I can't deny that, but it's about the team, not me," Beale said.