New Zealand Rugby
Ripia set for Wallabies?
July 4, 2010
Willie Ripia in action during a Hurricanes Super 14 training session at Glenwood Secondary School for Boys in Durban, South Africa on April 01, 2009
Willie Ripia could qualify for the Wallabies via residency © Getty Images

Hurricanes fly-half Willie Ripia could join Western Force in a move that would enable him to represent the Wallabies on the international stage.

Having named Wallaby skills coach Richard Graham as John Mitchell's replacement in 2012, the Force are currently busy recruiting during their off season.

And Ripia, a talented playmaker for Taranaki and the Hurricanes, is thought to be looking for opportunities off shore after seeing Aaron Cruden surpass him in the pecking order. The Force confirmed they are looking to sign Ripia as their emerging foreign player import.

"The ARU needs to make an assessment that his ability is such that he could represent Australia if he stays the three years and qualifies via residency," said Force Chief Executive Vern Reid. "We've spent the last two days talking to Willie and showing him around. He seemed to enjoy being here."

"He played very well the last three weeks for New Zealand Maori against England and Ireland. So he's very keen to be part of this and clearly he would be a good solution for our number 10 spot."

The Force have struggled to fix their issues at the key fly-half position since Matt Giteau left the franchise.

Former Springbok Andre Pretorius was signed but never played a game due to a hamstring injury, former All Black David Hill represented the team briefly but was never a long term solution, and efforts to lure Quade Cooper to join his close friend James O'Connor were ended by the Reds.


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