Kurtley Beale insists there is a still a place for all shapes and sizes in the modern game and will mark his return from a serious knee injury in December by joining the “Light Brigade” at Wasps.
While the majority of Premiership back lines feature players who would not look out of place in the forwards – Northampton’s Luther Burrell(6ft 3ins, 17st 2lbs), Bath’s Matt Banahan( 6t 7in, 17st 4lbs) and Worcester’s Ben Te’o( 6ft 2ins, 16st 10lbs) – Wasps have opted to go for speed, footwork and an ability to run around opponents rather than over the top of them.
When the entire Wasps cast is assembled after Beale is fit and Willie le Roux has arrived from South Africa via Japan in February, the back division could be; Dan Robson(5ft 8ins, 12st 8lbs), Jimmy Gopperth (5ft 11ins 14st 2lbs), Willie le Roux (6ft, 14st 2bs), Kyle Eastmond (5ft 7ins, 13st), Elliott Daly (6ft, 15st 10lbs), Christian Wade( 5ft 8ins, 13st 8lbs) and Rob Miller(5ft 11ins, 14st 11lbs).
Dai Young , the Wasps director of rugby, has more muscular options in his squad to take some of the pressure of that particular line up, but given the intention to play a wide game, Wasps may just have broken the Premiership back-line mould. It is an option Bath have previously tried to use when Eastmond played outside George Ford and alongside Jonathan Joseph and it was viewed as a luxury the team could not afford.
Beale suffered an horrendous knee injury playing for the Waratahs in June, just 24 hours after signing a contract with Wasps to make him the highest paid player in the Premiership. Now, well into his rehab programme with his new club, Beale is eager to get back onto the pitch and show why Wasps have invested so heavily in the multi-talented Wallaby.
Beale told The Rugby Paper said:“There is still a place for all different shape and sizes in rugby. There are different strengths and weaknesses in the way people play the game and there are opportunities for the smaller guys attacking out there. I don’t think there is too much to worry about and there are going to be exciting players in the backline. It’s going to be important to work hard through the forwards to present that front foot ball that will allow the nippy and fast guys out wide to finish things off.
“There will definitely be room for a lot of the smaller guys out there.”
Beale will miss the early rounds of the Champions Cup, a competition that proved too hard to ignore when Wasps came calling. He explained;”The European Champions Cup is definitely a tournament you want to play in. You want to be testing yourself against some of the best players in the world and there are also some old friends in the tournament. It will be great to catch up.
“It was the right time for me to move on and the European Champions Cup and Aviva Premiership are great tournaments and being able to learn about how the game is played over here is an opportunity I wanted to take.”
With England having beaten Australia 3-0 in the summer test series Down Under, the ability to do one—to-one work has saved Beale from endless comments from Wasps players involved in national squad. Beale is delighted with the Wallabies return to form and has a warning for England who face them again on December 3 at Twickenham.
“ The guys have been through the tough times recently and the coaching staff have been working hard to get the team back to where they were;”added Beale.”There will great opportunities in the November tests and they will have some goals to achieve and will be able to put in some great performances.”
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