News broke this week that Waratahs and Wallabies back Kurtley Beale will play for UK outfit Wasps from the start of the 2016/7 season.
Rumours of the deal had been circulating for some weeks but confirmation came Friday with the deal reportedly making Kurtley the highest paid player in the English Premiership.
Beale will be paid £700,000 a year ($1.4 million) by Wasps, $400,000 a year more than Sam Burgess was paid during his time at Bath.
Under the so-called “Giteau Law” Beale will still be eligible to play for the Wallabies as an overseas player and it seems fair to assume he will hope to have the best of both worlds – a higher salary and test Rugby. Given the rising wages in the UK as they look to compete with France (see table), this could continue.
An interesting side story to this is that at Wasps Kurtley will link up with his good mate (dare I say partner in crime?) Danny Cipriani. Given their collective troubled history with off-field issues (let’s not forget Danny is currently facing a serious drink driving charge) which caused Beale’s return to the Tahs and Cipriani’s return to the UK after the Rebels showed both of them the door, it seems reasonable to ask whether KB will be able to keep on the straight and narrow.
It was well reported at the time that he missed family support in Melbourne, so it could be quite a test in Coventry, on the other side of the planet. Still, at least he won’t be living close the London flesh spots but you can get just as pissed in a Rat & Parrot as you can in Spearmint Rhino and I for one really do hope he keeps it together.
Waratahs Captain Michael Hooper, who apparently had 5 minutes to take the news in before he fronted the media, expressed disappointment for the club but was pleased for Beale personally.
So, good move for Beale? Will he play for the Wallabies after June? Let us know what you think.