The Western Force have confirmed that Ben Tapuai has been released from his contract to continue his career with Premiership club Bath.
With a year left to run on his contract, the Force and Tapuai have come to an amicable agreement.
The 27-year-old departs Australian rugby with 78 Super Rugby caps to his name including 12 for the Force in his single season with the Western Australian club, scoring 22 points including four tries and a conversion.
Western Force head coach Dave Wessels says the centre’s departure frees up some exciting options for the club moving forward.
“Bath made a fantastic offer to Ben and that provided an opportunity to free up some money in the salary cap for us to explore a few other options, so it was of mutual benefit for both parties."
“’Taps’ (Tapuai) is a great character and has been a big influence on and off the field.
“We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
Tapuai thanked the Force for the past year and says he is looking forward to his next chapter.
“I’ve been presented with a great opportunity at Bath Rugby and I think it’s the right move for me at this stage in my career," he said.
"The support I have received from the Sea of Blue over the last year has been incredible and I’ve loved my time in Western Australia and at the club.”
The Western Force will announce the final player names for the 2017 squad in the weeks to come.
Meanwhile, Bath have confirmed that Tapuai will join up with their squad in the next couple of weeks.
Primarily an inside centre, Tapuai, who can also play at 13, is a dynamic back who has an excellent all-round game, including strong distribution and kicking skills. His substantial experience (which includes seven Wallaby caps) will be a great asset to Bath.
Tapuai explained his excitement at moving to Bath: “I can’t wait to get over to Bath and start this next stage of my career. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the set-up there, and the way they are looking to play the game, and I’m looking forward to experiencing a different league and helping to push the Club forward.”
Bath's Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder, added: “We’re really excited to have Ben join us. He’s a really good all-rounder, which will be a great boost for us, and the experience he has of international and Super Rugby will bring a new way of looking at things, and will really help develop our young midfield players. ”