Wasps have this afternoon confirmed that Kurtley Beale will leave the club at the end of the season and return to Australia.
Despite only joining the Premiership club last summer, there has been constant speculation hanging over his future, with Fox Sports hinting at his departure as early as last September.
In February, ESPN then reported that Michael Cheika was preparing the ground for the return of the utility back, while the Daily Mail even suggested that Bath had showed an interest in luring Beale to the Rec after losing George Ford to the Leicester Tigers.
Consequently, while news of Beale’s departure will not come as too much of a surprise to Wasps fans, it will nonetheless come as a blow, particularly as he spent much of the early season recovering from injury.
Speaking on the Wasps website, the playmaker revealed his desire to become a central part of the Wallabies build-up to the 2019 World Cup and hoped that Wasps fans would appreciate his decision to Australia.
This has been a really hard decision because of how much I’ve been enjoying my time at Wasps. 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 believe I have grown as a player and person during my experience here. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play with these great lads and I’m loving being part of this group and am excited to see what we can achieve this season. With the squad Wasps have, I’m sure they will also be successful over the coming seasons.
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.
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 have been going really well this season and I will be putting everything I have into helping the squad stay top of the table and trying to fulfil our potential this year. Hopefully Wasps’ fans will appreciate my reasons for returning home and how important representing my country is to me. This experience at Wasps is something I will never forget.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
On this week’s edition of The Oval Office Podcast, Lee Byrne tells us what’s gone wrong with Wales and how many dragons are likely to feature for the Lions.