Wasps are playing down any suggestion that Kurtley Beale’s return to Australia is imminent, with the playmaker’s future beyond the 2016-17 season still unclear.
Beale is signed on a one-year deal with the Coventry team, with an option to stay on beyond that, but has been unable to play any games for his new club after injuring his knee in May.
The 28-year-old is on track for a return to action next month, but his future beyond this season is under a cloud, though 60-cap Wallaby is eligible to be selected for Australia while based overseas.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika suggested last month that he would be keeping in contact with Beale and has been consistent in his efforts to try and repatriate Europe-based players.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said they were happy to give Beale time to decide whether he wanted to return to Australia or stay in England.
“Kurtley has signed a one-year contract with us, so I don’t know where all this about him leaving early has come from,” he said
“He wants to experience living in a new country and playing in a new league. He wanted to give it a shot for a year initially. His girlfriend has come over and he understandably needed to see if they’d settle over here and if he enjoyed playing in the Premiership.
“Kurtley is obviously a proud Australian who would still like to play for his country. We fully expect Kurtley to be talking to Michael Cheika, there’s no problem with that.
Young said they would be sitting down with Beale in December to discuss his plans beyond the season.
“Obviously the 60-cap rule is in place over there, which means they can select Kurtley anyway, but I totally get that Cheiks would prefer to have his best players back in Australia.
“I imagine it will be out of our hands at some stage, as it will be Kurtley’s decision.
Young said Beale’s contract talks had been put aside in his recovery from injury but hoped they would be able to find out his thoughts around Christmas.
“Kurtley is free to do whatever he feels is best for him at the end of the one-year contract, but we are very open to discussions and would like to sit down with him and his agent to discuss his plans and our plans,” he said.
“ We haven’t done that yet because we didn’t want to cloud the issue with his rehab, as the most important thing is getting him back fit and out on the pitch.
“In an ideal world, of course we were hoping he’d have had plenty of game-time under his belt by now, and then we’d be sitting down at Christmas to discuss this.
“We’ve let that lie because of his knee, and we didn’t want to put undue pressure on him, but we expect to sit down and talk over the next month.”