Wallaby star to switch sides

Australia full back Kurtly Beale will leave the New South Wales Waratahs at the end of the current season. [more]

Wallaby star to switch sides

Australia full back Kurtly Beale will leave the New South Wales Waratahs at the end of the current season.

Beale has signed for fellow Super Rugby franchise the Melbourne Rebels where he will link up with British stars Danny Cipriani, Gareth Delve and Nick Phipps.

The 22-year-old is understood to have been offered a similar deal to remain with the Waratahs and that a change of scenery rather than financial reasons was behind his decision to move on.

Beale, who began training with the Waratahs as a 15-year-old, established himself as his country’s first-choice full back last season, scoring seven tries in 12 Tests.

And while his move will obviously been seen as a set back for the Waratahs, the Australian Rugby Union will be delighted that one of their key men has committed himself to staying in Australia beyond this year’s World Cup.

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Beale is expected to be a permanent fixture in the Wallaby starting XV for many years to come, with British and Irish fans likely to see plenty of him where the Lions head Down Under in 2013.

Beale’s future may now have been decide but speculation continues to surround his fellow back-three colleague James O’Connor.

Rated as one of the hottest prospects in the world game, O’Connor currently plies his trade with the Western Force but is being heavily linked with a big-money move to both the Rebels and the ACT Brumbies.

But Force head coach Richard Graham, who previously worked with both Bath and Saracens, is hopeful that his star performer will stay in Perth despite his side’s poor form that has seen them register just a single win and a draw in seven matches.

"I think Perth have been very good to him over the past four years," said Graham.

"He's become a Wallaby, he's established himself as one of the best young footballers from Perth. And he's got a very good group of loyal friends.

"So I think all those things together will convince him to stay."

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