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September 22, 2017

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Wallaby's Beale linked in move to NRL

SYDNEY -- New South Wales (NSW) Waratahs coach Michael Cheika says negotiations to keep Kurtley Beale in rugby union are progressing well amid reports Friday linking the Wallaby star in a move to the National Rugby League (NRL).

Beale, one of the stars of Super Rugby title favorites Waratahs, has been linked with NRL club Canterbury Bulldogs next year.

But Cheika was unperturbed about the speculation surrounding the playmaking Waratahs' back.

"I think (Beale) has had a further chat with the (Australian Rugby Union) now, so it's headed in the right direction," he told the Sydney Morning Herald Friday.

"I'm never comfortable with any signatures until they're on the paper, and even then you have to worry sometimes.

"I'm clear on how the negotiation (between Beale and the ARU) works, so I'm leaving them to it and getting on with coaching the team."

Beale has been in outstanding form for the Waratahs and Wallabies but was unhappy about being used so little in Australia's three-Test series against France last month.

Beale told the Herald last month that he wanted to play for the Wallabies in next year's World Cup but was also determined to look after his own interests.

"I want it to be right for me. Especially if I'm not starting in the Wallabies, I have to look after my future," Beale told the newspaper.

"There are a lot of players in front of me at the moment and I have to weigh up my options.

"I know where I'm at rugby-wise, but if they see it differently then that's when I have to start to look at the other options that I have."

But the versatile 42-Test playmaker, who has been used at inside center as a second fly-half option for the Waratahs, has appeared contented since the Waratahs locked in the top spot on the Super Rugby standings.

"What I've liked about Beale, with all this stuff going on, he's just kept so level and is training hard and it's not even bothered him at all, which is very good," Cheika said.

Bulldogs coach Des Hasler has distanced himself from Beale, insisting he is yet to speak to him or his manager.

"I haven't spoken to any Waratahs players full stop. Full stop," Hasler told reporters on Thursday.

Pressed on whether he wanted Beale, Hasler replied: "He is a good footballer. Full stop. I have not spoken to any Waratahs players."

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