Aviva Premiership

Gibson remains hopeful amid reports of Wasps deal for Beale

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has not given up hope of Kurtley Beale staying with the club, despite reports the Australia back has agreed terms on a lucrative deal with Premiership side Wasps.

According to The Times, Beale is set to become the highest-paid player in England after signing a two-year contract worth £1.5million.

However, the deal has yet to be officially announced and Gibson told reporters on Friday: "Obviously it's unconfirmed at this stage. As far as I'm concerned, he's still staying. I can't add anything more than I already know and that is he's still undecided."

Beale's future has been the subject of speculation for several months, yet he has continued to impress with a series of sparkling performances in Super Rugby.

Gibson added: "This has been going on for a while now and through that he's probably been playing some of the best rugby of his life, so he's clearly unaffected by what's in front of him, and that's a good thing.

"I'm sure in his own mind he knows that it's going to be a difficult decision for him. The fact the sun is shining, it's a beautiful blue [day] here and he's enjoying his rugby, I guess for him, those decisions will weigh heavily on him.

"Obviously for Kurtley it's a big decision. He's got to decide between staying in Australia and a really supportive environment or going overseas and playing his rugby there. For us, we'd love him to stay. That hasn't changed.

"What makes me confident? I guess I know what we can provide here and we've got to hope that he can see that as well. We're never going to be able to compete on money terms, but we've got to find a different way to compete."

Waratahs skipper Michael Hooper conceded the departure of Beale would represent a massive blow.

"I just heard about it five minutes before I walked out here," said Hooper. "[I would be] happy for him as an individual, the ability to make those decisions is all part of rugby, but for me selfishly, it's probably disappointing.

"I love playing with Kurtley, love having him in the environment here in the team, but hopefully I'll be able to play with him a lot more in the future. You can't replace Kurtley Beale - you get something different and that's, with rugby, what we'll probably be chasing [if he leaves]."