Wasps announce Beale homecoming

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Kurtley Beale is returning to Australia, with Wasps confirming his move overnight.

Beale had signed with Wasps on a one-year deal with a second year option in his favour, but the English club announced his decision to come home.

The 28-year-old had been in talks with Michael Cheika and the ARU in recent times, with the Wallabies coach saying this week that Beale would have a much larger role in the Test side on his return.

In a statement, Beale said it was his international aspirations that tipped him over the line in his decision, despite his 60-Test tally allowing him to play even when based overseas.

 “I signed a one-year deal from the outset to enable me to keep my options open. I came very close to agreeing a new contract with Wasps, but I believe to achieve my international rugby aspirations I need to be back home in Australia,” he said.

“To be able to wear the Wallaby jersey again would be the greatest privilege and at this stage of my career I want to give myself the best opportunity of representing Australia in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“The vision Cheik [Michael Cheika] has for the Wallabies is really exciting and is something I really want to be part of and contribute to.”

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said they supported Beale’s decision.

“All new contract discussions between us and Kurtley have been very amicable and he will leave with our very best wishes in the summer,” he said.

“Because of how much Kurtley was enjoying it here and we were enjoying having him, we opened discussions about extending his stay.

“Until last week, we were relatively confident he would put pen to paper for another year.

“However, I know he and Michael Cheika have spoken recently and Kurtley feels he has an important role to play in the Wallabies’ set-up, leading up to the World Cup.

“Kurtley is a proud Australian, who quite rightly wants to represent his country, and neither I nor the club would ever discourage a player from playing international rugby, so we fully understand why he would want to return.”

Beale has been a star for Wasps since returning from the knee injury that ended his 2016 season in May, with a double against Bath last weekend lighting up the Premiership.

His final destination was not announced by Wasps and while the Waratahs are believed to be his preferred destination, no contract has been signed.