Super Rugby
Force sign cross-code youngster
ESPNscrum Staff
June 30, 2011
The Western Force's new signing Jordan Rapana scores against the Roosters back in his Gold Coast Titans days, Sydney Football Stadium, July 11, 2008
Rapana will hope to realise his huge potential in the union form of the game © Getty Images
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Teams: Australia | Force

The Western Force have announced the signing of exciting cross-code prospect Jordan Rapana ahead of the 2012 Super Rugby season.

The Perth-based franchise have recently lost Wallabies international James O'Connor to rivals Melbourne Rebels and will hope Rapana's signing will soften the blow. The former rugby league back enjoyed a successful first season in 2008 in professional rugby league with the Gold Coast Titans, after he was drafted in directly from high school. The committed Mormon opted out of the second year of his contract to go to the UK on a religious mission where he stayed in numerous rugby strongholds including Gloucester, Worcester, Swansea and Cardiff.

The New Zealand-born youngster was not allowed to play professionally during his two years abroad but he is looking forward to joining the Force where he will link up with his older brother Joelin Rapana. "I was brought up on rugby and our family is really passionate about the game," Rapana said. "When I served my mission in England and Wales it happened to be in big premiership rugby cities and that definitely ignited the passion again for rugby.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge of moving back into rugby and I'm confident that if I put in the hard work during the off season that it'll be the right move for me. I was very fortunate to be given an opportunity to play in a professional environment straight out of school and I've set myself to do everything I can in local rugby and pre-season games to earn a place in the Western Force side next season."

Force head coach Richard Graham believes the New Zealand Maori rugby league international has a big future in the union format of the game. "Having been away for two years and not part of a professional rugby programme Jordan joined the squad in Perth and ran the second fastest GPS time we recorded this year," Graham said.

"He is quick, and aerially one of the best players I've seen in recent times, while he also possesses a very good all round skill set. Jordan is very keen to establish himself in rugby and we were extremely impressed with him as a person and a player during that trial period. Forward thinking by RugbyWA CEO Vern Reid enabled us to move the negotiations along quickly and secure this exciting young talent who I believe will be a great addition to the squad.

"I have no concerns about Jordan being able to quickly establish himself in rugby. By the end of this year he'll have around 15 games of rugby under his belt and is the kind of player who could quickly step up and play Super Rugby in 2012."

Rapana will remain back on the Gold Coast and play with the Breakers in the Queensland Premier Rugby competition before joining his new Western Force team mates in Perth ahead of the club's tour to Samoa in August where they'll play two matches against the Samoan Test team.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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