Western Force back-row Ben McCalman will stay with the Perth-based club after signing a new deal for a further three seasons.
The incumbent Wallabies number eight will remain with the Force through until the end of the 2018 season, with his flexible contract allowing him to the play the 2015/2016 Top League season in Japan following this year’s Rugby World Cup.
McCalman, who has been one of competition’s form number eights throughout the Super Rugby season, has already played 79 matches over six seasons with the Force.
The 27-year-old, who played seven matches for the Wallabies at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, has typified his performances with a phenomenally high work rate and an ability to continually carry across the gain-line with his powerful ball-running.
McCalman said he’s looking forward to remaining part of a young and developing Western Force squad.
“I’m really happy to be staying here in Perth for another three years,” he told the Western Force's official website.
“It’s great to stay with the club that gave me my first opportunity, but it’s also exciting to be a part of a young team as we continue to develop.
“We had a strong season last year, and while we’ve fallen away a bit this season in terms of results, we’re a young team and it was always going to take a few years for us to reach our full potential.
“That’s a great challenge for us though, and I’m really excited to be here for another three seasons and be able to contribute to reaching that potential.
“Over the past three seasons, the squad’s remained really tight and there’s still a lot of belief within the squad that we can play finals rugby in seasons to come – which I think we’re capable of doing.”
Despite his five years at the international level, McCalman believes he can continue to develop his game at the Force.
“Personally, I’m really happy where I am and I think this is the best place for me to play my rugby,” he added.
“I feel like I’ve really developed, particularly over the last year or two, and I feel like I’m playing some of my best rugby.
“I’ve learnt a lot from the coaches we’ve had through here over the years. I feel like I’m learning a lot from Foles [Michael Foley] and our coaching staff here at the moment, and I know that there are still areas of my game I can continue to improve and develop.”
Western Force head coach Michael Foley said ensuring McCalman remained at the Force was a priority for the club.
“Over the past few seasons, Ben has developed into one of the most consistently high performing number eights in this competition,” he explained.
“On-field, he is uniquely able to create momentum for the team in attack and defence. However, off-field, he’s also begun to take on more responsibility as an emerging leader.
“Whenever Ben comes off-contract he will inevitably draw the interest of both local and international teams, however, his re-signing is a strong reflection of his loyalty to his team-mates and the club. I’m thrilled to see him remaining with us for another three seasons."