Waratahs to lose Dunning to the Force

Wallabies and Waratahs prop Matt Dunning will quit the New South Wales Super Rugby franchise and will announce his decision to sign with the Force on Monday.

Dunning had been stuck on 99 Super Rugby caps for the Waratahs but missed this season after suffering an Achilles injury on the Wallabies end of year tour.

His future has been somewhat clouded for some time but Waratahs insiders confirmed to the Sydney Morning Herald that he will leave the club after failing to get them to agree to a one year contract so that he could keep his options open in case he wanted to move to the new Super 15 franchise that will be based in the Australian conference.

The most likely venue for the new Super 15 franchise from 2011 appears to be Melbourne and Dunning wanted to be available for the new team if they wanted to sign him.

Instead it is believed that he has accepted a two-year deal with Force after an unsatisfactory offer from NSW.

Since recovering from the season-ending injury, Dunning has dropped 7kg and come through three Premier Rugby matches with Eastwood unscathed.

This season the Force lost a number of high profile Wallabies such as Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell so Dunning’s signing the other way is a big coup for the Perth franchise.

Former Wallabies coach John Connolly says that Dunning was still a world-class prop and his signing was great news for the club. “He’s been a great servant to NSW and Australia, and he’ll be a great asset for the Force,” Connolly told The Sun-Herald.

“I have no doubt once he gets back to full fitness he’ll return to international duties, there just aren’t many players who can offer what he can at international level.

“He can play at both tighthead and loosehead, and that make him a pretty rare commodity.

“I think he’s a big loss for NSW and a great gain for the Force.”

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