Australia’s Kurtley Beale will miss Wasps’ English Premiership final against Exeter at Twickenham on Saturday with a hamstring injury.
The Wallaby star pulled up sharply during the club’s semi-final win over Leicester and had to leave the field, having recovered from a serious knee injury which ruled him out of the Wallabies’ international campaign last year.
It means Beale has now played his last match for Wasps before he returns to Australia.
His absence from the Wasps team announced Friday came as little surprise, especially given that Australia coach Michael Cheika has ruled him out Thursday of the Wallabies’ upcoming home Tests against Fiji, Italy and Scotland next month.
Beale’s place at fullback for Saturday’s English title-decider will be taken by South Africa’s Willie le Roux, who has often worn the No 15 shirt for the Springboks during his Test career.
Le Roux moves from the wing with Josh Bassett, who scored the winning try two minutes from time against Leicester, starting after starring off the bench against the Tigers.
Wasps’s 1ast XV also includes two members of the British and Irish Lions squad for the combined side’s forthcoming tour of New Zealand in wing Elliot Daly and back-row James Haskell.
Wasps’ director of rugby Dai Young, whose side are appearing in their first Premiership final for nine years and are seeking a fifth title, said Friday of his new fullback: “He’s not a bad 15 is he, really?
“Willie went there in the semi-final when Kurtley went off and I thought he played very well there.”
The former Wales international added: “He switched from the open (side) to blind (side) to make the extra number for the (winning) try.”
Wasps have yet to lose in a Premiership final but they will be up against an Exeter side who are unbeaten in the league since October and ended reigning English and European champions Saracens’ bid for a double Double in the semi-finals.
When Wasps last faced Exeter, the result was a dramatic 35-35 draw.
“I think we will have two sides who really want to play rugby and want to take the game to each other,” Young added.
Since Wasps last lifted the Premiership trophy, when England 2003 World Cup-winner Lawrence Dallaglio was their captain, they have had an often troubled existence.
Originally a London club, they narrowly avoided relegation in 2012 but moved to Coventry in the English Midlands where they have since undergone a revival.
“The final is new territory for this group of players, but really exciting territory and something our players and coaches can’t wait to be involved in,” Young said.
“As much as we are going to enjoy it, we want more than that. We are not there to make up the numbers, we are there to give absolutely everything we have to try to win the trophy.”
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