NSW Waratahs release Kurtley Beale immediately

The NSW Waratahs have confirmed they have released Kurtley Beale from his contract effective immediately after reports surfaced he had requested an early release on Sunday.

It was announced in May the utility back would not be returning to the Sydney-based franchise in 2021 after he signed a contract in France with Racing 92.

Despite Super Rugby AU to take place in just 10 days time The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Beale had asked the Waratahs to grant him an early release, so he could begin preparations for his move to France.

The 31-year-old played 11 seasons with the Waratahs, racking up 148 caps -- equalling Benn Robinson's all-time appearance record -- and also secured a Super Rugby title in 2014.

Beale paid tribute to teammates and support staff both past and present.

"I've spent most of my career in my home state representing the Waratahs, it's been an honour," Beale said.

"I'm thankful for the many great people I've met over the journey and will cherish the memories I've made over the last eleven seasons.

"It's a bittersweet moment to be leaving a place you've called home for such a long time, but this is an exciting opportunity to play overseas and the time is right to begin the next chapter in my career.

"I wish the boys all the best for the domestic season, it's an exciting time for this group with plenty of guys who will carry on the traditions of the Waratahs for years to come."

Rugby Australia's Director of Rugby, Scott Johnson has left the door open for Beale's return to the Wallabies set up.

"Kurtley has been a great contributor for Australian Rugby over many years and I know he still has the desire to represent his country. He remains eligible for the Wallabies and if his form warrants it he will certainly come into calculations for selection.

"Kurtley is aware of where he is at in his career and after deciding his future earlier in the year he is eager to get a head start with his new club. Under the current circumstances we viewed that as a reasonable request and he leaves with our full support."

Super Rugby was halted in mid-March because of the novel coronavirus outbreak and Australia has followed New Zealand in organising a competition involving just their domestic teams.

The Australian competition is due to begin on July 3.