Tuesday 21 November 2017

More bad news for Connacht with Wasps ready to unleash Wallaby star this weekend

Kurtley Beale will prove a handful for Connacht this weekend
Kurtley Beale will prove a handful for Connacht this weekend

Jim van Wijk

Kurtley Beale's return to action will be well worth the wait and could come in Sunday's Champions Cup tie against Connacht, according to Wasps director of rugby Dai Young.

The 60-capped Australia utility back agreed a switch to England from the Waratahs in a deal said to be worth some £700,000 per season as one of Wasps' marquee players, only to suffer a serious knee injury.

It has been a long road back to fitness for the 27-year-old, but Young revealed his recovery from the potentially season-ending patella tendon problem was almost complete.

Young is excited by the prospect of Beale's impact in both the domestic Aviva Premiership and European campaigns.

He told Press Association Sport: "First of all, Kurtley is really excited. It is difficult for him as you can imagine.

"There was a lot of fanfare about us signing him and then unfortunately he got injured, which was then surrounded by questions of was it going to be a three-month, six-month or nine-month injury?

"Coming to a new club at the other end of the world pretty much injured has been difficult for Kurtley really, and it is a long rehab process.

"In fairness to him, he has got his head down and worked his socks off."

Young continued: "Kurtley is really excited about getting involved. He has got a couple of sessions to get through yet (this week), but we are pretty confident that he will have some involvement on the weekend.

"If he is looking extremely confident with everything, then we will probably start him, otherwise we will put him on the bench. That is hoping he does not get any reaction through training, but at the moment he is not having any of that so fingers crossed he will be available."

Young believes Kurtley will certainly bring something different to Wasps' dynamic.

"He is a world-class player, without a shadow of a doubt," he said.

"It will probably take him a little bit of time to settle into our patterns and get his sharpeness back, but some of the touches he has done in training already, there is no denying the quality he possesses."

Wasps have been blighted by injury this season, but still sit just a point behind Saracens in the Premiership and are also second in Champions Cup Pool 2 as they prepare to take on leaders Connacht at the Ricoh Arena in the first of back-to-back European games.

Young reports the likes of fly-half Jimmy Gopperth, wing Christian Wade and prop Jake Cooper-Woolley are all "positive" ahead of the weekend, but Danny Cipriani, centre Kyle Eastmond and lock Matt Symons remain doubtful.

"Hopefully we will get a couple back, but we won't get the full contingent," he said.

"It has been a difficult period, but every team has it and you just have to get on with it.

"I think we are through the woods now with more guys coming back than going out."

Connacht are reeling this week from the news that head coach Pat Lam will leave the province at the end of the season to join Bristol.

Press Association

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