Super Rugby

Beale tempted by huge Wasps offer

Kurtley Beale (Getty Images)
Kurtley Beale (Getty Images)

Sydney - Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has admitted it will be hard to keep hold of Wallabies back Kurtley Beale after London Wasps offered him a big-money deal, a report said on Friday.

Australian newspapers said Beale was understood to be close to signing a two-year deal worth $2.0 million with Wasps that would begin at the end of this year's Super Rugby season.

It is an offer the Waratahs and the Australian Rugby Union concede they cannot match.

"We're keen to keep Kurtley here, it's going to be difficult for him. That's a huge sum of money," Gibson told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Reports said Beale, 27, who has been in fine form for the Waratahs this season, could become the highest-paid player in the English Premiership if he accepts the deal.

Under new ARU eligibility rules, players with 60 Tests or more can be selected for the Wallabies from offshore clubs, meaning Beale can have the best of both worlds: the money from playing overseas and international caps.

"We want our best players playing in our competition and for the Waratahs, that's going to be an on-going problem," Gibson said.

"The 60-game threshold will hurt the Waratahs more than it will hurt Australia because Kurtley is still available to Australia, he won't be available to the Waratahs."

Gibson, who took over from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika at the Waratahs, said it could become "the norm" for Australia's best players to be poached for large sums of money.

"I think rich European clubs coming here and picking off our biggest talent, it's going to probably become more the norm than not," he said.

"I don't think we're quite at that tipping point yet, but certainly it's going to be a big issue for Australian rugby."

Australia has already lost several high-profile players to European clubs, including Matt Giteau (Toulon), Will Genia (Stade Francais) and Adam Ashley-Cooper (Bordeaux).

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