Western Force sign Reds centre Ben Tapuai

Perth based Super Rugby franchise the Western Force have signed Queensland Reds centre Ben Tapuai for the 2016 and 2017 Super Rugby seasons.

Tapuai will join the Force having played 66 Super Rugby matches across seven seasons for the Reds, including starting at inside centre for the Queenslanders in their title-winning team in 2011.

The 26-year-old, who previously represented the Australian Schoolboys in 2006 and 2007, and Australian Under 20 (2008), has played sevens Tests for the Wallabies, starting in six of them during the 2012 Rugby Championship and Spring Tour.

Head Coach Michael Foley says Tapuai will bring further experience to his young midfield.

“While we already have a number of talented young players within our backline, we have identified the need to bring in some additional experience ahead of next season,” he said.

“Ben is a powerful athlete who is able to use his feet and passing game to challenge the defence.

“Having been a starting ’13 ‘ in a Super Rugby-winning side, and a starting ’12 ‘ at Test level, Ben helps provide the skills and experience we ‘ve been looking for.”

Tapuai says he ‘s looking forward to joining the Western Force in his eighth season of Super Rugby in 2016.

“I ‘m excited about the opportunity to challenge myself in different environment,” he said. “I ‘ve absolutely loved my time at the Reds but I felt like I need a new and different environment to be able to challenge myself further and move forward.

“There ‘s an exciting squad at the Force at the moment and I ‘d like to think that I can bring some more experience to the squad from what I ‘ve learnt over the years, and contribute to helping us improve as a team.

“I spoke to Luke [Morahan], who ‘s said what a good place the Force and Perth is to play rugby, and when I heard that Jono [Lance] signed – who I ‘ve also played with at school and the Reds – it was great to have the chance to play with him again too.”

The Western Force would also like to acknowledge the Queensland Reds for their professionalism during this negotiation process.

: Ben Tapuai
Born: 19/01/1989, Brisbane
Position: Centre
Height: 180cm
Weight: 95kg
Super Rugby caps: 66
Super Rugby points: 40 (8 tries)
Super Rugby debut: 2009 (Reds) v Crusaders, Christchurch
Test caps: 7
Test points: 0
Test debut: 2011 v Wales, Cardiff
Representative Rugby: 2011-2012 Australian Wallabies, 2009-2015 Queensland Reds, 2008 Australian Under 20, 2006-2007 Australian Schoolboys

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