Kurtley Beale reckons the addition of Springbok superstar Willie Le Roux to an already electrifying backline has given Wasps the extra edge they need to claim their first Premiership title since they last lifted the silverware in 2008.
Dai Young’s free-scoring league leaders resume their title charge against Worcester next Sunday and Beale, who has elected to head home to Australia at the end of the season, believes the X-factor Le Roux provides can tip the balance in their favour.
Beale told The Rugby Paper: “Willie’s brought a new level of energy to the club. He’s obviously a world-class player who plays with a lot of excitement in his game and it’s been noticeable how quickly he’s brought that to the squad on the field.
“He’s a very humble guy who has a good buzz about him and coming in midway through the season has definitely provided a lot more excitement around the place.
“Anyone would feed off the X-factor Willie brings to the game and we’re already seeing how he’s creating a lot of opportunities for us in attack.
“Finishing off our previous block of games with a really good 24-3 win at Bath means we’re heading into the rest of the campaign with a lot of confidence.
“It was probably our first complete performance in all departments – attack and defence – and Willie was a big part of that. There’s a lot of confidence at the moment and everyone’s feeling very excited ahead of this next section of games.”
Beale, 28, rejoins the Waratahs this summer having been persuaded to accept a leadership role within the Wallabies set-up at a time when Rugby Union in Australia is on its knees.
With the number of Australian franchises in Super Rugby set to be cut, it is a responsibility 60-cap Beale is relishing, although the versatile back is determined to end his Wasps stint on a high.
He explained: “Australian rugby is going through a transition process at the moment and you probably need a couple of years of that to allow the players to grow and get a better understanding of the game so they can match up with the best.
“Cutting franchises is not ideal but it will raise competition within the player pool and, along with the young talent that’s being pushed through, there’ll be a responsibility on senior Wallabies like me to pass on their experience to those young guys.
“It’ll be a big responsibility but I spoke to Cheik over a number of things and he’s outlined his expectations of the team moving towards Japan in 2019. That matched what I wanted to achieve and I really want to go for another World Cup.
“My decision to go back was a no-brainer because I still have that burning desire to play for my country, but to be able to go back with some silverware would be great because Wasps have been fantastic in helping me get my best form back.
“It’s been a very enjoyable experience in England and I feel like a rugby player again after they supported me following the major knee injury I suffered last year, so I’m desperate to repay Wasps with something really special before I go.”
With 67 tries in 17 league games to date, Wasps boast the Premiership’s most lethal attack. Yet there is still no place within the England set-up for ace wing Christian Wade, who heads the top-flight scoring charts with 12 tries to date.
Beale added: “It’s a sign of how good England are that so many guys are putting their hand up for a starting gig, but I’ve played with and against a lot of top-class wingers and, for me, Wadey’s right up there with the very best of them.
“He’s one of a kind, I’ve never seen speed like it, and, like Willie Le Roux, he’s a great ball of energy who brings that real X-factor. He’s puting his best foot forward for Wasps and I’m positive he’ll one day get a look in with England.”
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