5,000 NSW Waratahs fans were left a little shocked yesterday as star playmaker Kurtley Beale refused to commit his future to the Super Rugby franchise.
When asked about remaining with the Tahs next season Beale told the crowd: “I’ll just leave that up to my manager.
“But I love the boys. I love being back here in NSW. I love being home.”
It was the first time teammate Nick Phipps had heard any suggestion Beale may be off, but he was confident enough his teammate would stay for the Waratahs title defence in 2015;
“I just heard it up there,” Phipps said.
“I knew he was probably going to stay. He’s happy in NSW. The `Tahs is the place where he grew up and I can’t really see him leaving there.
“We want what’s best for Kurtley and we would be happy with whatever his decision was.
“He’s a phenomenal bloke, so you can’t really hold a bloke back from doing whatever.”
Phipps was hopeful a majority of the current squad would stick together for the next few years, having grown so close under the tutelage of Michael Cheika.
“The players getting to know each other day-in day-out, it’s something that’s special – and you build on that. That’s when you win those tight games like on the weekend,” he said.
Phipps revealed the team had gathered for a “big meeting” on Tuesday morning before the celebrations to talk about what they needed to improve to win title number two.
And it even included players who won’t be at Waratahs in 2015, allowing them to “add their input to help leave the club a better place”.
“We know that other teams will be coming after us,” he added.
“I guess you can look back and say we’re the benchmark at the moment, so it’s just important that we keep improving and keep working hard.
“We would like to be able to create our own piece of history and create that dynasty that some other teams have, but for us we’ll already be targeted next year. Everyone will be out to get the `Tahs.
“So we’ve got to get back to work and get better to try back it up.”