Confirmed: Beale to push for fourth World Cup

It’s official: Kurtley Beale is returning home to Sydney and will be available for the Wallabies’ blockbuster three-Test series with England in June-July.

Rugby Australia confirmed the code’s worst-kept secret on Sunday night that Beale would finish up with Racing 92 at the end of the French Top 14 season and rejoin the NSW Waratahs in 2023.

It’s understood Beale will sacrifice almost $[AU]500,000 to cut short his stint in Europe to hopefully contest a record-equalling fourth Rugby World Cup in France next year.

After giving Beale his blessing to ply his trade overseas, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie sent an SOS for the versatile playmaker on last year’s northern hemisphere spring tour of the U.K.

Now the 95-Test veteran looms as a key figure in Rennie’s 2023 World Cup plans.

Beale can cover a range of positions across the backline but has been predominantly seen at fullback during his last two seasons playing for his French club.

A member of the past three Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup squads, Beale’s return puts him squarely in the frame to join George Gregan and great mate Adam Ashley-Cooper as only the third Australian to feature at four World Cup tournaments.

“I’m really happy to be returning to Australia and would like to thank RA and the Waratahs for allowing me that opportunity,” Beale said.

“There’s nothing better than representing my state and my country and I’ll be working hard to earn the right to do both when I return to Australia.”

Beale won’t feature for the Waratahs until the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season – 15 years after first representing his state as a teenage schoolboy.

“From what I can see, the Waratahs and the Wallabies are building really strong cultures and environments and I’ll be looking to contribute as much as I can to ensure that continues,” he said.

The 33-year-old is currently the second most capped NSW Waratah with 148 Super Rugby games across 11 seasons for the club.

“We’re really pleased that Kurtley is returning home and committed to Australian Rugby to the end of the 2023 season,” Rugby Australia chief Andy Marinos said.

“His decision is especially significant given the current rugby player market and speaks to his desire to represent both the Waratahs and the Wallabies again.

“We remain determined to be successful and play a brand of rugby that delivers results and engages fans.

“Kurtley has shown this in his career to date and we are excited to see the continued impact he can have as we build towards the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

“Kurtley’s return certainly adds depth and experience to Australian rugby in positions that provide an opportunity to showcase his skill and diversity.”

Waratahs coach Darren Coleman was also thrilled to welcome back the Indigenous superstar.

“It’s going to be great having Kurtley back not only for the team but for the NSW Rugby public,” Coleman said.

“He’s an excitement machine and his ability to play multiple positions is a real asset for us.”

“I’ve had a long association with Kurtley dating back to 2006 and he’s a really positive guy to have around.

“I feel he will be a great mentor for some of our young backs as they progress through their professional career.”

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