I want to start this article off by pointing out that there’s a definite link between a Warratah, an indigenous Australian flower, and a wasp, which is just a peeved bee, but I’m struggling to find the metaphor, so just pretend that I started this off with some sort of witty wordplay.
It has been reported today that Wasps have all but signed the Australia centre from the club who were crowned champions of the Super Rugby competition in 2014. However, the big news is not the signing in itself, considering Beale has insinuated for quite some time that he would be open to a move to Europe, but in fact from the astronomical figure he’s reportedly going to be paid; 2.7 million dollars, split over two seasons. A cool, perfectly wonderful 1.35 million dollars a season. My recommendation, Mr Beale, is to invest in 5400000 freddo bars. Nah, only joking, just want to point how criminal it is that Freddo’s are 25p now.
From a rugby point of view, Beale wins entirely. He earns what the kids like to call ‘fat stacks’, inferior only to Matt Giteau and Dan Carter in terms of their wages. Furthermore, he’d be one of the few Australian internationals still able to play international games, due to the ‘Giteau Law’, which stipulates that players with over 60 caps for the Wallabies can still play any international match. He is also the perfect sort of player for Wasps, capable of kicking, particularly useful when their starting fly half will be Danny Cipriani, and playing anywhere across the back line. The signing of Beale and the aforementioned Cipriani is a statement of intent by Wasps, and Beale will be seen as a replacement, and potentially an improvement, for Charles Piutau, who it seems almost certain will be moving to Ulster in the summer.
Beale would form part of an impressive Wasps team that are currently flying high (if you’ll pardon the pun) in the Aviva Premiership, sitting in 4th, and his signing will bring a real buzz (sorry) to the Ricoh Arena. It also shows willingness from the Premiership to compete with the plethora of superstars who inhabit the Top 14 in France, and produce teams such as the new Wasps team that will have a healthy mix of talent that has been developed in England- Think Christian Wade, James Haskell, James Gaskell, Joe Launchbury- who form the core of the team, and players of real quality brought in from abroad, such as man mountain Nathan Hughes (Who’s only foreign for now), experienced Italy prop Lorenzo Cittadini, and the immensely well travelled George Smith, Australia’s most capped forward and someone Beale will know already.
Ultimately, is the Premiership to flourish while producing a steady stream of players worthy of representing England, this will be the best way to do it. No-one wants a football situation where English players are as rare as four leaf clovers, but the experience that players like Kurtley Beale can bring to players like Christian Wade is unrivalled, and could give England the edge in the long run.