Wasps director of rugby Dai Young admits he considered Kurtley Beale’s chequered past carefully before making him the highest-paid player in Aviva Premiership history.
Beale is among the sport’s most naturally gifted playmakerss and at 27-years-old and with 60 Australia caps in the bank, he has arrived at the Ricoh Arena at the height of his powers.
But he comes with plenty of baggage in the shape of repeated fines for a long list of misdemeanours including drink driving, fighting with teammates and sending an inappropriate text to former Wallabies business manager Di Patson.
The lengthy rap sheet failed to deter Young, however, after he was assured Beale has matured.
“Of course we thought about what happened in the past, but we’re not all the same. You’re never going to have a squad of choirboys,” Young said.
“Kurtley, by his own admission, went through bit of a bad phase, which he regrets. He knows it wasn’t very professional but he says he’s completely changed.
“I can only judge on what happens in our environment and after the two weeks he’s been with us, he’s been absolutely first class.
“People in Australia who I trust have told me he’s a changed man and is far more professional now. I don’t see us having a problem with him.
“He’s a world class player with the ability to create and finish things. He can play across a number of positions internationally.”
Beale will primarily play inside centre and fullback for Wasps, but his first task is to overcome the knee injury incurred in May that will delay his debut for the Premiership title challengers until November.
He will soon begin weight-bearing running, a drill that will offer a better idea of when he is ready to resume playing.
“Once he’s done that we’ll have a clearer indication of his return date and that certainly won’t be early November, so mid to late November is the best picture, the worst picture being early December,” Young said.
“We want him back sooner rather than later, but there’s no pressure from us – he’ll only play when he’s right.”
Young revealed that South Africa full-back Willie le Roux will arrive in February after completion of his commitments in Japanese club rugby.