Wasps have confirmed that Wallaby Kurtley Beale will join the club for the 2016/17 season, arriving from the Waratahs.
Beale will arrive at the Ricoh Arena outfit as their overseas marquee signing at the conclusion of the 2016 Super Rugby season.
The 27-year-old has won 60 caps for Australia since his debut against Wales in 2009 and has competed in two Rugby World Cups. The 2015 World Cup finalist has showcased his skills in almost every position across the backline during his international and Super Rugby career.
Beale has built a reputation as a world-class game changer, possessing a mercurial ability to unlock defences and conjure something out of nothing.
In 2011, he was awarded the John Eales medal, recognising Australia’s best rugby player of the year. Beale was also nominated for the IRB Player of the Year award in the same season. In 2014, the versatile playmaker was an instrumental figure behind the Waratahs maiden Super Rugby championship, and in 2015 reached a career milestone of 100 Super Rugby matches.
Beale becomes the eighth signing Wasps have announced for the 2016/17 season, joining Guy Armitage, Danny Cipriani, Tom Cruse, Marcus Garratt, Marty Moore, Tommy Taylor and Tom Woolstencroft.
Speaking about the signing of one of the game’s most gifted players, Wasps’ director of rugby Dai Young said: "There are very few players in world rugby who can really excite people and get spectators on the edge of their seats. Kurtley Beale is one of those rare talents. Every time he gets the ball in his hands, you can sense the anticipation among those watching that something is going to happen. At Wasps, we like to play expansive, attacking rugby, and these are the type of players we want within our set up.
"Kurtley’s versatility is amazing when you think he’s played international rugby at 15, 12, wing and on occasion at 10. To sign an international rugby player who can perform in all those positions will be a great strength for us moving forward.
"Kurtley has been part of many successful environments and the experience he will bring should help the squad in a similar way to how George Smith and Charles Piutau have this season.
"We always knew Charles would only be here for one season as he had already signed for Ulster before arriving at Wasps. So it was important for us to recruit another world-class player to replace him, which we’ve achieved by signing Kurtley. He’s played at the highest level, which should help our squad’s continual improvement moving forward."
Looking ahead to next season at the Ricoh Arena, Beale said: "I can’t wait to move to England and pull on the Wasps jersey.
"It’s going to be difficult to leave the Waratahs at the end of this season – I first joined the Tahs when I was 16 and have loved every minute of it, but I feel the time is right to make this move.
"There was a lot to weigh up when making the decision, but I have always loved playing in England and the recent World Cup was an amazing experience. The passion for the game in Europe is huge and I want to be a part of it.
"Wasps are a big club with a great coaching staff and very talented playing roster. Dai Young has told me about the atmosphere at the Ricoh Arena, how passionate the fans are and his plans for the future…it’s something I’m really excited about.
"I am only 27 now and I know my best footy is ahead of me, both at club and Test level.
"I want to win trophies with Wasps in the Premiership and Europe, and continue playing for the Wallabies. It’s a privilege every time you get to pull on that Test jersey and if I’m lucky enough to be selected for Australia in the future, I’ll be ready."