Beale to return home to chase Wallabies spot

COMING HOME: Kurtley Beale (left) wants to regain his place with the Wallabies.
COMING HOME: Kurtley Beale (left) wants to regain his place with the Wallabies. Alastair Grant

RUGBY UNION: In a major coup for Australian rugby, Kurtley Beale has announced he will leave Wasps and return ​home​ at the end of the UK season.

Beale left the Waratahs last year after signing a one-year deal with Wasps on a reported $1.3 million a season but after steady lobbying from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, the star centre elected to not take up a contract extension at the English club.

Beale said he had set his sights on playing for the Wallabies at the 2019 World Cup, although there was no indication yet where he would play in Super Rugby.

It is highly likely Beale will return to the Waratahs, possibly even for the end of the Super Rugby season in July.

"To wear the Wallaby jersey again would be the greatest privilege," he said.

"At this stage of my career I want to give myself the best opportunity of representing Australia in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

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

"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 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."

Beale's debut for Wasps was delayed until December after he suffered a knee injury for NSW last year and missed the entire Wallabies season.

The 28-year-old has scored three three tries in six Premiership matches for Wasps.

In the face of mostly one-way player movement to the cashed-up European competitions, to convince Beale to return home - for less money than he'd get at Wasps - was a significant win for Cheika.

The Wallabies coach appeared to say on Monday that an upgraded role for Beale with the Wallabies from super sub to starter was the selling point.

"Beale before wasn't starting. He was hole-fixing. But I think it will be different for him this time, because I've got a clear vision of what I want him to do in the team," Cheika said.

"I know it's only been a year but in that year there's been a big change in the Wallabies squad as well. He'll come back with a slightly different stature I'd say and I want him to play according to that."

Topics:  kurtley beale wallabies waratahs wasps

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