Super 15
Force pin hopes on Ripia
August 16, 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 has joined the Western force © Getty Images

The Western Force have plugged their gap at No.10 with the signing of Hurricanes playmaker Willie Ripia on a two-year deal.

The Force were struck by an injury crisis at pivot during last season's Super 14, losing marquee signing Andre Pretorius before the season began due to a serious hamstring injury. They were later forced to recruit Kiwi veteran David Hill on a short-term deal.

Now, chief executive Vern Reid is hoping that New Zealand Maori representative Ripia, 24, can provide stability at fly-half for the first time since Matt Giteau's defection to the Brumbies. He has moved to Perth as a 'foreign development player' and could later represent Australia once he has qualified on residency grounds.

"Getting game time and playing in my preferred position at first five-eighth was a huge incentive for me, along with the new challenge the move to Perth presents," Ripia said.

"I've been in and around the New Zealand system for a while now and thought it was time to challenge myself and my football. I think this is the right move personally and I'm determined to prove it'll be the right move for the Force as well.

"In the time I spent looking at the club and meeting the people there I could see the great culture they've built, that is something I'm really big on. It was definitely one of the big drivers for me to sign on."


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