Rugby

Beale set to return to Australia

2017-03-09 18:57
Kurtley Beale (AFP)

London - Australian star Kurtley Beale will leave English Premiership side Wasps at the end of the season to focus on featuring at the 2019 World Cup.

Beale is reported to be the Premiership's highest-paid player after signing a one-year deal with Wasps last year.

But the 28-year-old will turn his back on an extended lucrative deal as he heads home with a view to impressing Australia coach Michael Cheika before the next World Cup in Japan.

"Following recent conversations with Australia head coach Michael Cheika, the 28-year-old Wallaby feels he could play a central part for Australia as they build-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup," Wasps said in a statement.

"Wasps are fully supportive of Kurtley achieving his international ambitions, and will wish him the very best when he returns to Australia at the end of the season."

Beale, whose Wasps debut was delayed until December while he recovered from injury, has played a pivotal role in their concerted push for European and domestic honours this term.

"This has been a really hard decision because of how much I've been enjoying my time at Wasps," Beale said.

"The squad, coaches, medical team and fans have been brilliant towards me since I arrived, and I will always appreciate how they supported me through the injury rehab and gave me time to get my confidence back on the field.

"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.

"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."

Wasps rugby director Dai Young, meanwhile, paid tribute to Beale, who has won 60 caps for Australia.

Young said: "I know how difficult a decision this has been for Kurtley as he has really enjoyed his time here at Wasps and has settled in brilliantly on and off the field..

"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."

Read more on:    australia  |  kurtley beale  |  rugby
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