Force sign Wallabies star in recruitment coup
The big spending Western Force have pulled off another recruitment coup by beating the NSW Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels to the signature of Wallabies lock Izack Rodda.
The 24-year-old has played 25 Tests and was firmly established as a starting second rower under previous coach Michael Cheika.
Rodda will link with the Force after a stint in France with Lyon, linking with another recently signed former Test lock in Sitaleki Timani.
The Perth club also have former All Blacks second rower Jeremy Thrush on the books.
"It's fantastic to be heading home and getting back to Super Rugby," Rodda said.
"The Force is a very ambitious club that are looking to become the best in the competition, so this is an opportunity that I'm very excited to make the most of."
Force coach Tim Sampson was naturally thrilled.
"Izack has a great level of Super Rugby and international experience, which is important when playing in the tight five," Sampson said.
"It's fantastic for us and Australian rugby to have players like Izack return and he is genuinely excited to be a part of our club moving forward."
It's less exciting news for the struggling Waratahs, who were hoping to lure the NSW product home.
Waratahs chief executive Paul Doorn told the Sydney Morning Herald on Monday that he was hopeful of still being "in the running."
"We've put our best foot forward in that space but we're like everybody else.
"I think we're still in the hunt but we'd like to find out sooner rather than later because that's a critical part of the planning for 2022," Doorn said.
Rodda previously played for the Queensland Reds but left last year during the COVID-19 crunch.
News of his impending return to Australia did not impress Reds coach Brad Thorn last week.
"You've got a global pandemic, everyone has suffered, players took pay cuts, guys were on JobKeeper," Thorn said.
"You don't dislike that person, but the whole game suffered here... it was hard yakka and a lot of people made sacrifices, so that doesn't align with our values.
"It's having your cake and eating it, you know."