Force re-sign McMeniman but lose Stiles
April 8, 2013
Hugh McMeniman has been the form forward for Western Force in 2013 © Getty Images
Stiles will join Queensland Reds for the 2014 Super Rugby season after informing the Force that a desire to return his young family to Brisbane after seven years in Japan and Perth was the key factor for the move back to Queensland.
Stiles, who joined the Force for the 2011 season, will continue his current coaching role through until the end of the 2013 Super Rugby season.
The re-signing of McMeniman, who may be out for up to six weeks after injuring his shoulder in last weekend's loss to Melbourne Rebels, is a major coup for the Perth-based franchise.
McMeniman, who is yet to complete negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union, has been a star performer in the Force pack this season and is widely tipped to make a return to the Wallabies fold. The 29-year-old returned to Super Rugby this season after three years with Japanese club, the Kubota Spears, having previously spent five seasons with Queensland Reds.
The powerful, hard-running forward - nicknamed 'Madness' - earned 21 Test caps for the Wallabies between 2005 and 2009, including four appearances during Australia's 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign.
McMeniman began his Test career with his debut against Samoa in Sydney in 2005 after progressing through the ranks of Australian rugby with the Australian Schoolboys (2001) and Australia A (2005).
McMeniman's re-signing follows that of captain Matt Hodgson, who has also recommitted for a further two seasons. The rugged lock says his preference was to stay in Western Australia with Western Force.
"I've loved playing my rugby here with the Force and in Perth; I've really enjoyed being part of the program and being a part of this playing group," McMeniman said. "The direction we're heading in is very positive. Already this season we've taken a number of big steps as a side; there's a clear direction in terms of where we want to end up and we're on our way to achieving that."
"Foles [Michael Foley] and the coaching staff have been fantastic for me and my development, and having Joycey [Head of Athletic Performance, David Joyce] here has been a big bonus for me as well," McMeniman added.
"While there was interest elsewhere, I was always keen to stay with the Force. My partner Georgie and I really like living in Perth, we've got some great friends here now and I know it's the best place for me to continue my footy. There's no doubt that we're building towards some good results in the future and it's exciting to know I'll be a part of it."
Head coach Michael Foley says McMeniman's signature is an endorsement for the direction of the franchise.
"It's fantastic to have Hugh re-sign with us and it's testament to the culture that's being created within the team," Foley said. "Anyone who's watched Hugh play will know how competitive and ambitious he is and it's a ringing endorsement for the blokes he plays with that he wants to continue his career with us here at the Force."
© ESPN Australia / New Zealand