Kurtley Beale set for Western Force debut and first Super Rugby appearance in four years

David Skippers

Kurtley Beale in action during a Wallabies training session.

Veteran Wallabies utility back Kurtley Beale is set to make his long-awaited Super Rugby return after being named to start at full-back for the Western Force against the Crusaders in Perth on Saturday.

Beale last played at Super Rugby level with the Waratahs in 2020 – as he was playing for French club Racing 92 for two years – and despite rejoining the Sydneysiders at the end of 2022, he was prevented from playing for them after being suspended when he faced rape allegations of which he was eventually cleared.

Force debut

The 35-year-old will make his debut for the Force after joining them earlier this month as an injury replacement on a short-term contract until the end of their Super Rugby Pacific campaign.

The 95-Test Wallaby will have to hit the ground running at the Perth-based outfit as they are rooted to the bottom of the standings. He revealed last week that he is hoping to return to the Test arena after having a conversation with new Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt.

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Apart from Beale’s debut, the Force were also boosted by the news that Wallabies lock Izack Rodda and experienced loose forward will return to action via the replacements bench after recovering from knee and quad injuries, respectively.

In other team news, Argentine front-row Santiago Medrano is back in the matchday squad and starts at tighthead prop after missing the Force’s Round Seven defeat to the Blues due to head injury protocols.

Meanwhile, Will Harris is back in the starting line-up at blindside flanker while experienced Wallabies scru-half Nic White will be the team’s captain.

READ MORE: Super Rugby Pacific Team of the Week: ‘Remarkable’ TJ Perenara and a Sevens convert catch the eye

Western Force team to face Crusaders

Force: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Bayley Kuenzle, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Ben Donaldson, 9 Nic White (c), 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Carlo Tizzano, 6 Will Harris, 5 Thomas Franklin, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Ryan Coxon
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Marley Pearce, 18 Tiaan Tauakipulu, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22 Max Burey, 23 Henry O’Donnell

Date: Saturday, April 20
Venue: HBF Park, Perth
Kick-off: 17:35 local (10:35 GMT)
Referee: Reuben Keane (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Graham Cooper (Australia), Jeremy Markey (Australia)
TMO: Kyle Burnett (Australia)