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Beale to exit Racing 92 for tilt at Wallabies World Cup spot

By Chris Jones
Kyle Sinckler and Kurtley Beale

Australian full-back Kurtley Beale will not extend his contract at Racing 92 to allow him to prepare for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, according to reports in France.

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Ironically, the tournament is being staged in France where he has made a big impact with the Paris club, after arriving in 2020, but having been recalled by Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie, for the last Autumn Nations series, the 33-year-old wants to, as reported by RMC Sport, give himself the best chance of being a key figure in a fourth World Cup campaign having played in 2011,2015 and in Japan in 2019.

Beale’s contract ends this season and his decision will mean a radical change in the Racing 92 back division as French international winger Teddy Thomas will play for La Rochelle next season while the future of Argentine win Juan Imhoff is not yet settled.

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Beale was recalled by the Wallabies management last November coming off the bench in the 15-13 loss to Scotland at Murrayfield after his last international appearance at the 2019 World Cup. Now, the 93 cap utility back has decided a chance to lift the trophy with the Wallabies is more attractive than an additional two years in Paris. RMC Sport believes Beale made his decision after talks with Rennie and, as a result, Racing are now looking for alternatives.

The Wallaby has made 13 appearances for the club this season – 11 as a starter – and will be determined to try and finish on a trophy-winning high with the club facing Paris rivals Stade Francais in the last 16 of the Heineken Champions Cup. Success in the premier European Cup would go some way making up for the club’s poor showing the Top14 this season where they currently stand in a lowly 10th place and 24 points behind leaders Bordeaux-Begles.

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Flankly 2 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

If rugby wants to remain interesting in the AI era then it will need to work on changing the rules. AI will reduce the tactical advantage of smart game plans, will neutralize primary attacking weapons, and will move rugby from a being a game of inches to a game of millimetres. It will be about sheer athleticism and technique,about avoiding mistakes, and about referees. Many fans will find that boring. The answer is to add creative degrees of freedom to the game. The 50-22 is an example. But we can have fun inventing others, like the right to add more players for X minutes per game, or the equivalent of the 2-point conversion in American football, the ability to call a 12-player scrum, etc. Not saying these are great ideas, but making the point that the more of these alternatives you allow, the less AI will be able to lock down high-probability strategies. This is not because AI does not have the compute power, but because it has more choices and has less data, or less-specific data. That will take time and debate, but big, positive and immediate impact could be in the area of ref/TMO assistance. The technology is easily good enough today to detect forward passes, not-straight lineouts, offside at breakdown/scrum/lineout, obstruction, early/late tackles, and a lot of other things. WR should be ultra aggressive in doing this, as it will really help in an area in which the game is really struggling. In the long run there needs to be substantial creativity applied to the rules. Without that AI (along with all of the pro innovations) will turn rugby into a bash fest.

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