Super Rugby: Back In the Fold – Kurtley Beale Rejoins the Tahs
NSWRU Media Release –
Kurtley Beale will be back in NSW colours next season after today announcing a new one-year contract with Waratahs Rugby and Australian Rugby Union.
Now 24, Beale made his provincial debut back in 2007 at the age of just 18 and went on to represent NSW on 68 occasions in the five seasons that followed. After two years in Melbourne, the Sydney-born back returns to his home state next season, excited by the opportunity to write the next chapter in his state and international career.
“I’m really excited to be coming home and to be playing under Michael Cheika and the coaching team at NSW,” said Beale.
“I feel at home in Sydney, it’s where my family are. The Waratahs are a team going places and I’m really looking forward to playing some good, consistent rugby.
“I’ve made the decision to get my shoulder right, I hope this next year will be a big one for me. I’m excited by the World Cup on the horizon and I’m just looking forward to getting back to playing really good rugby, having a big year for the Waratahs and hopefully getting selected for the Wallabies.”
Said NSW Waratahs’ Head Coach Michael Cheika, “Kurtley is an extremely talented player and we can’t wait to see him back in a sky blue jersey and playing our style of game.
“The man is a great reader of the game and has the exact profile that we are looking to inject into our current backline set up. Kurtley is just coming into his prime playing years and over this period, we want to ensure that he maximises his potential as a rugby player.”
Hailing from Mount Druitt in Sydney’s west, Beale graduated from renowned rugby nursery St Joseph’s College and is now one of Australia’s most acclaimed Indigenous athletes. This year he has been working closely with The Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team (LMRDT), acting in an ambassadorial role to help promote rugby participation amongst young Aboriginal men and women.
“I’m in Cairns today and then flying to the Gold Coast for the Indigenous Under 16s tournament this Sunday. Mentoring the kids and talking to them, sharing my experience, it’s something I love doing. It teaches me about myself and I get a lot out of it too.”
Widely regarded as one of the most talented rugby players that Australia has ever produced, Beale shot to prominence in 2008 when he started every match at flyhalf for the NSW Waratahs in the run up to the 2008 Super Rugby 14 Grand Final.
A prodigious talent, Beale played for Australia A before making his Test debut as a 20-year-old, coming on for Drew Mitchell in the 70th minute of Australia’s 33-12 win over Wales at Millennium Stadium in November 2009. He earned his first Test start against Fiji the following year before appearing off the bench against England and Ireland and was later honoured as Australia’s Rookie of the Year.
After a stand out 2010 Tri-Nations campaign that saw him nominated for the IRB Player of the Year award, he spent much of the Waratahs’ 2011 Super Rugby season at fullback, adding valuable cover at flyhalf. Irrespective of his position, Beale’s brilliance in breaking the line or putting a teammate through a hole was extraordinary and went on to ensure he played an integral part in the Wallabies’ third-placed finish at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, as well as earning him the prestigious John Eales Medal for Australia’s Player of the Year. In 2011 he moved to the newly-created Melbourne Rebels. Although his two-year stint saw him become a favourite with his Victorian fans and team-mates alike; he won the Players’ Player of the Year Award in 2012; injuries would limit his contribution and in August 2013, he announced a return to his home state of NSW.
In May this year, Beale made his first appearance in almost three years for his Sydney club side Randwick, playing against Sydney University in the Shute Shield, before playing a role in all three Tests against the British & Irish Lions in June. He underwent shoulder surgery in July but is expected to be back in action in time for the 2014 Super Rugby season.