Cheika steps up his ‘bring back Beale’ campaign

Posted March 20th, 2019 by admin and filed in 南京夜网
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Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is dangling the Australian No.12 jersey in front of Kurtley Beale as a carrot to lure home his prized playmaker in time for the coming Test season.
Nanjing Night Net

Beale is weighing up whether to trigger a second season option in his big money deal with English Premiership side Wasps or surrender it to return to Australia two years out from the 2019 World Cup.

The Australian Rugby Union cannot compete with the riches on offer in Europe and after a breakout debut stint with Wasps, in which the 28-year-old scored three tries in six games, Beale’s star has never been brighter.

But Cheika is employing other means to entice Beale back, including hinting at a Test starting role for the former Waratah.

“He’s obviously got to validate his position by his form when he comes back and plays for whatever [Super Rugby team] he’s going to play for,” Cheika said.

“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.

“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.”

Cheika’s proposal, however contingent it is on Beale’s form, would be weighing heavily on the 60-Test playmaker’s mind as he makes his decision which, according to Wasps director of rugby Dai Young, could be as soon as a week away.

While he was immensely valuable to the Wallabies in the “super sub” role in which Cheika used him, starting in just three of the 13 Tests he played under his former Super Rugby coach, Beale made no secret of the fact he wanted to be a Test starter and the issue was a point of contention between the pair in an otherwise close relationship.

A season-ending injury to the 60-Test back came at the same time he was weighing the Wasps offer last year and Beale made no further appearances in the gold jersey before his departure for England in October. His exit allowed Rebels rookie Reece Hodge to cement a spot in the Wallabies line-up, becoming one of the finds of the season in an otherwise tough year for Cheika and Australia.

Beale, too, appears to be flourishing during his time away from the Australian system. Contrary to the predictions of many and in spite of a rehab timetable that delayed his debut for Wasps, he has gone on to play an integral role in the club’s journey to the top of the Premiership and appears to be well-liked by his teammates and the wider Wasps community.

Young’s comments at the weekend demonstrated the regard in which Beale is held: “It was always agreed that we see how this season goes and how he and his girlfriend settle in,” he said. “He’s got his international career to think about.

“If it ends up being a year, it’s a year we wouldn’t have changed. If we can extend it, which we are hoping to do, we’ll be really pleased. If we can’t, it will have been a worthwhile exercise.”

Complicating matters for Cheika is that under the so-called Giteau Law, Beale is eligible for Australian selection wherever he is playing in the world, so a return home is not a necessary condition of World Cup selection. Instead, Cheika appears to be dangling a carrot close to his former charge’s heart, relying on Beale’s keen sense of loyalty and love of the Wallabies’ team culture to trump the lure of the pound.

“You never know, I didn’t really think he was going to leave in the first place,” Cheika said.

“It hasn’t been complicated, we’ve been going back and forth, we’ve said what we think, that we want him to come home, this is what we think his place in the team is, and he has to assess that.

“Whatever happens, it’s going to be less than he gets offered at Wasps, even based off what he got offered last time. It’s going to be a matter of whether he wants to come home, be an instrumental part in the Australian team in the lead-up to the World Cup, that’s what it’s going to come down to.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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