Wallabies utility back Kurtley Beale has been granted an early exit from his Waratahs contract ahead of next month’s Super Rugby AU competition.
News emerged on Sunday morning in the Australian media that Beale was released from his Waratahs and Rugby Australia contract early, ahead of an impending move to Top 14 outfit Racing 92.
The Waratahs are yet to officially confirm Beale’s departure but they are expected to make an announcement early in the week.
Beale has signed a two-year deal with Racing, beginning next season, and initially it was expected he would play out the Australian season.
According to a report on Rugby Australia’s official website, his reasons for an early exit aren’t entirely clear but it is believed to be an amicable departure.
The 31-year-old became the Waratahs’ most-capped player in history in March after more than a decade in the sky blue and at the time said he was determined to leave a legacy at the Sydneysiders.
🗣️ “We have two premium signings who will bring some experience and their ability.” #Top14
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) May 12, 2020
Beale has admitted through the year that his form was below his best and he was not part of a Players of National Interest list compiled by the new Wallabies coaching group after the Super Rugby shutdown.
“I’ve obviously put a lot of expectations on myself to be playing at a level that I’m happy (with),” he told Rugby Australia’s official website.
“At the moment, I’m kind of finding it a little bit tough to try and pop in and pop out at certain plays and get my hands on the ball at the right time.
“Obviously there’s some new structures set in place and new ways to play the game, and I don’t think I’m far off though just to be able to build combinations with certain players around me.”
Beale will still be eligible to play for the Wallabies despite this move, having racked up 92 Tests since his 2007 debut.
His move leaves flanker Michael Hooper as the only remaining member of the 2014 championship side still at the Waratahs.
Rebels lock Luke Jones, also bound for Racing 92, is also set to depart Melbourne without playing in Super Rugby AU which is set to start on July 3.
Jones played the opening game for the Rebels this season before a back injury hindered the remainder of his campaign.