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Rob Kearney secures move to Australia

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(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Press Release from Western Force:

Ireland’s most decorated player, Rob Kearney, has signed with the Western Force on a one-year deal.

The fullback, who scored 82 points in 95 appearances for Ireland, joins from current PRO14 champions Leinster Rugby.

Kearney’s illustrious international career has included two Grand Slams (2009 and 2018), four Six Nations triumphs (2009, 2014, 2015 and 2018) and three World Cup campaigns (2011, 2015 and 2019).

At club level, Kearney has earned 219 caps for Leinster, playing a crucial role in establishing the provincial side as Ireland’s most successful club team, where he lifted six PRO14 titles, four European Champions Cups and a European Challenge Cup since debuting against Welsh side Ospreys back in 2005.

Kearney’s aerial prowess, strength and reliability throughout his career has seen the Dundalk-born player also earn three caps for the British and Irish Lions, which included Tours to South Africa in 2009 and a series victory against Australia in 2013.

Having conquered the European club and international landscape for over a decade, Kearney is delighted for the opportunity to ply his trade in Western Australia.

“I am delighted to be joining the Western Force for their upcoming season and excited to play with such an ambitious club who are looking to improve on this year’s campaign,” Kearney explained.

“I hope to add value both on and off the field that complements the high ambition of the club.

“I’m particularly excited to immerse myself in a new performance environment and to play both with and against some of the best players and teams in the southern hemisphere.

“I look forward to moving to Western Australia to begin building relationships with my new teammates and coaches alike and to meet the ever-growing Western Force fan base which also includes a strong Irish contingent.”

Head of rugby Matt Hodgson is excited to see the Force attract world class talent, saying it shows the potential and positive development of the club.

“Rob is a fantastic signing, but more than that he is a great person who will be able to bring a lot to WA rugby,” Hodgson stated.

“He is a player of the highest calibre that brings a wealth of experience and quality to the side.

“He also brings a winning mentality, having experienced so much success for his country and Leinster. We can’t wait for the Sea of Blue and the sizeable Irish community within WA to see him pull on the Force jersey next season.”

Kearney will join the club for pre-season later this year.

More player announcements can be expected in the coming weeks.


Super Rugby

Queensland Reds announce 2023 Super Rugby Pacific Squad

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The Queensland Reds have confirmed their playing squad for the 2023 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific competition.
  

Queensland’s roster remains largely unchanged from last year’s campaign, with just three players from outside the 2022 program – Luke Jones, Connor Anderson and Phransis Sula-Siaosi – added to the 37-man squad.
 


More than 90% of the squad (34 players) have made their way to Super Rugby through the Queensland Rugby pathway, having represented Queensland at U18s or U20s level, or played in the StoreLocal Hospital Challenge Cup, National Rugby Championship or Queensland Rugby Challenger Series.
 


The squad is Queensland’s most experienced in five-years with the roster boasting 1067 Super Rugby caps.
 


Up to 13 players will potentially have played 50 games for Queensland by the end of 2023 – the most since 2015.
  

Five players in the squad have already reached their Queensland half-century, with Filipo Daugunu, Tate McDermott, James O’Connor, Taniela Tupou and Liam Wright having achieved the 50-cap milestone.
 


A further eight – Angus Blyth, Jock Campbell, Sef Fa’agase, Harry Hoopert, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Jordan Petaia and Hunter Paisami – will also have the chance to reach the mark this season.
  

The squad features 12 capped Wallabies, as well as 10 players who represented Australia A this year.
 


Queensland will also welcome former All Black Kane Hames to the coaching staff, completing the coaching group alongside Head Coach Brad Thorn and Assistant Coaches Jim McKay, Phil Blake and Mick Heenan. 
 


Hames brings over a decade of coaching and playing experience at both International and Super Rugby level to Ballymore.
 


Reds General Manager – Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “We are proud of the Queensland pathway connection within the 2023 Reds Squad. 
 


“We have been building on our collective experience for a number of years, which has heightened expectation.
 


“We welcome this ahead of a significant year for the club as we celebrate 140-years of Queensland Rugby.
 


“We’re pleased to welcome Kane to Ballymore. He is another great asset within our experienced coaching team.”
 


The Reds commenced their first block of pre-season training at Ballymore this week ahead of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.
 


Queensland will play five home games at Suncorp Stadium next year, with two at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium, including a Round 1 blockbuster against the Hurricanes.
 


Secure your 2023 Reds membership via https://bit.ly/3UP1YDJ.
  

Queensland Reds 2023 Squad (in alphabetical order)
 


  • Connor Anderson – Wests – Brisbane State High School – Everton Park Roosters

  • Richie Asiata – Easts – Anglican Church Grammar School

  • Floyd Aubrey – GPS – Marist College Ashgrove

  • George Blake – Bond University – The Southport School – Fasi Maufanga Eels, Tonga

  • Angus Blyth – Bond University – The Southport School – Casuarina Beach Rugby Club
  • Wilson Blyth – Bond University – The Southport School – Casuarina Beach Rugby Club
  • Jock Campbell – University of Queensland – The Southport School – Inverell Highlanders

  • Lawson Creighton – Brothers – Padua College

  • Filipo Daugunu – Wests – Dogotuki District School, Fjii

  • Sef Fa’agase – Sunnybank – Shailer Park State High School – Beaudesert Warriors
  • Matt Faessler – Brothers – Toowoomba Grammar School – USQ Saints

  • Lopeti Faifua – Wests – Saint Kentigern College, Auckland

  • Josh Flook – Brothers – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Brothers

  • Mac Grealy – University of Queensland – Downlands College – Souths Toowoomba
  • Isaac Henry – Wests – Brisbane Boys College – Kenmore Bears
  • Harry Hoopert – Brothers – Toowoomba Grammar School – Dalby Wheatmen

  • Spencer Jeans – Bond University – The Southport School – Gold Coast Eagles

  • Luke Jones – Wests – St Pius X College – St Ives Rugby Club

  • Tom Lynagh – University of Queensland – Epsom College – Richmond Rugby Club
  • Tate McDermott – University of Queensland – Sunshine Coast Grammar School – Flinders Rugby Club
  • Fraser McReight – Brothers – Brisbane Grammar School – Albany Creek Brumbies

  • Josh Nasser – University of Queensland – St Joseph’s Gregory Terrace – Easts
  • Zane Nonggorr – Bond University – The Southport School – Gold Coast Eagles

  • James O’Connor – Brothers – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Brothers

  • Hunter Paisami – Wests – Mangere College, Auckland
  • Jordan Petaia – Wests – Brisbane State High School

  • Ryan Smith – Brothers – St Patrick’s College Shorncliffe – Caboolture Snakes
  • Phransis Sula-Siaosi – Souths – St Joseph’s Nudgee College

  • Keynan Tauakipulu – Wests – Saint Kentigern College, Auckland – Kenmore Bears
  • Kalani Thomas – University of Queensland – Ipswich Grammar School – Souths
  • Taniela Tupou – Brothers – Tonga College Atele – Kalapu Hufangalupe, Tonga

  • Seru Uru – Wests – Ratu Kadavulevu School, Fiji – Namoli Rugby Club, Fiji

  • Connor Vest – University of Queensland – Grafton High School – Grafton Junior Rugby Club

  • Suliasi Vunivalu – Wests – Saint Kentigern College, Auckland

  • Harry Wilson – Brothers – St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace – Gunnedah Red Devils

  • Liam Wright – Easts – Anglican Church Grammar School – Easts

  • Dane Zander – University of Queensland – St Joseph’s Nudgee College – Albany Creek Brumbies
 


*Players’ senior club, high school and junior club are listed.
 


Queensland Reds 2023 Coaching Staff 
  

  • Brad Thorn – Head Coach

  • Jim McKay – Assistant Coach

  • Phil Blake – Assistant Coach

  • Mick Heenan – Assistant Coach

  • Kane Hames – Assistant Coach


Content & Images from – Queensland Reds Rugby


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Highlander greats to join Management Team

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Former Highlanders’ co-captains Nasi Manu and Ben Smith have joined the 2023 Highlanders’ management team. 

Manu, who co-captained the team with Smith to a Super Rugby Championship in 2015, has joined in an operations and player mentoring role. Manu who battled cancer in 2019 before returning to play for Tonga and Otago also played for mid-Canterbury in this year’s Heartland Championship. As yet he has not called time on his playing career.

“The opportunity to work in a club that I love with and to mentor some younger players was too good to turn down. I don’t know if it signals the end of my playing days just yet, at the moment I am just excited about being able to continue to work in rugby and with the Highlanders,” said Manu.

Highlanders General Manager of Rugby, Greg O’Brien, said Manu is widely respected within the club by both past and present players.

“Nasi came here in 2010 and had an immediate impact on everyone at the club – his engaging approach off the field and uncompromising play on it certainly left a lasting impression. Nasi’s professional attitude and passion for the club will provide a positive influence for many of our up-and-coming players. His unique perspective and inspiration come from a guy who has been there and done that in rugby terms,” said O’Brien.

Highlanders’ legend Ben Smith has already dabbled in coaching having worked with the Otago NPC Squad during the 2022 NPC season and is looking to extend that experience with the Highlanders. He will be working with the team for two days a week focusing on the back three counterattack.

“I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy coaching, or if the players would respond to my style of coaching, however I certainly enjoyed my time with Otago and was encouraged enough to commit some time to the Highlanders. As most people would probably guess, this region and this club mean a great deal to me,” said Smith.

Highlanders Head Coach Clarke Dermody was keen to utilise Smith’s knowledge if possible.

“Ben has only just retired from a great rugby career, and I knew he probably wasn’t likely to want to commit all his time to coaching straight away. As one of world rugby’s best counter attackers from fullback he understands the role of the back three in detail and the knowledge he will be able to impart to our players will be invaluable.”

Between Smith and Manu they have over 200 games in the Highlanders’ colours and know what it takes to be successful and combined with the new coaching group, their collective presence around the clubrooms should provide the class of ’23 with all the support they need.

 

ENDS

 

 

 

 

Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby


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Queensland Reds sign promising duo

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After impressing during this year’s inaugural Queensland Rugby Challenger Series and tour of Japan, Queensland Rugby pathway products Connor Anderson and Phransis Sula-Siaosi will join the Queensland Reds squad in 2023
 .

Backrower Anderson will call Ballymore home for the next two seasons, while prop Sula-Siaosi has signed through 2023 to bring added depth to the Reds forward pack next year.

Through Queensland Rugby’s recent groundbreaking player development initiatives, the Club Rugby pairing both earned their maiden Queensland cap against the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights earlier this month in Kumagaya.
  


 Reds General Manager – Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “We’re pleased to welcome another two genuine Queensland Rugby pathway products to our squad for 2023.
 


“Connor and Phransis have both been impressive for their respective clubs for a number of seasons now, and they only enhanced their reputations during the Challenger Series and Japan Tour. It’s great to reward their performances with a Reds contract.
 


“At the Reds, we’ve been built on a strong connection with the community game in Queensland, but the opportunity is clearer than it’s ever been with introduction of the Queensland Challenger Series, and Reds caps and contracts will be available again next year for outstanding performers.
 


“Next year’s Challenger Series will grow again and with the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights travelling to Queensland in 2023, we will be keeping contract positions open for outstanding performers.”
  


 Anderson said: “I’m super excited to be joining the squad in 2023, this has been a dream of mine since I was four-years-old.
 


“Being selected for the Japan tour and earning a cap was a massive honour and something I’m extremely grateful for.
 


“A massive thank you to my coaches at Wests and the club. I wouldn’t be in this position without them.
 


“I’m looking forward to the challenge of Super Rugby and can’t wait to rip in this pre-season at Ballymore.”
 


Sula-Siaosi said: “Earlier this year, my dream of being a professional footy player still felt like a long way away.
 


“I was over the moon to be called into the squad for the Challenger Series and thought what a great year of footy it has been.
 


“Getting my first cap on the Japan Tour still feels unreal to think about.
 


“I’m glad I was able to impress Thorny and the staff enough to sign me and I’m excited to take advantage of this opportunity and make something out of it.”
 


Anderson has enjoyed a breakout 2022 campaign, the backrower winning the StoreLocal Hospital Cup title with Wests and receiving the Alec Evans Medal as the competition’s best player.
 


The 26-year-old graduated from Brisbane State High School in 2013, and played for the Queensland U20s side in 2016.
 


An Everton Park Roosters junior, Anderson made the move to Sylvan Road in 2017, and has been a permanent fixture in the Bulldogs pack in the years since.
 


He featured for Brisbane City in the 2019 National Rugby Championship, before earning selection in this year’s Challenger Series with the Reds.
 


Still only 22-years-old, Sula-Siaosi captained Souths in the year’s Hospital Cup and has risen through the ranks after graduating from St Joseph’s Nudgee College in 2018.
  


 Sula-Siaosi was an Australian Schoolboy the same year, touring Ireland and Scotland alongside current Reds scrumhalf Spencer Jeans.
 


The prop made his Premier Grade debut the season after, and went on to captain the Magpies in 2022.
 


Anderson and Sula-Siaosi will report for pre-season training at Ballymore next week, with Queensland’s preparations for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season set to kick-off on Monday.
 


The Reds will play five home games at Suncorp Stadium in 2022, with two at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium, including a Round 1 blockbuster against the Hurricanes.
 


Secure your 2022 Reds membership via https://bit.ly/3UP1YDJ.
 


Connor Anderson
 


  • Position: Backrow
  • 
 Height: 191cm

  • Weight: 107kg

  • Born: 13/05/1996

  • Place of birth: Brisbane

  • Senior Club: Wests

  • School: Brisbane State High School

  • Queensland debut: 04/11/2022 v Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Saitama

  • Queensland caps: 1
 


Phransis Sula-Siaosi

  • 
 Position: Prop
  • 
 Height: 174cm
 Weight: 118kg
  • 
 Born: 15/07/2022

  • Place of birth: West Auckland, New Zealand

  • Senior Club: Souths
  • School: St Joseph’s Nudgee College

  • Queensland debut: 04/11/2022 v Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Saitama

  • Queensland caps: 1

Content & Images from – Queensland Reds Rugby


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