The Western Force have added 140 Super Rugby caps and 68 Test caps of experience to their squad with the signing of Wallaby hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau for the 2017 Super Rugby season.
The 31-year-old, has played more than 10 years at the elite level and means the Force’s front row now boast nearly 500 combined Super Rugby caps.
The abrasive hooker is renowned for his set piece efficiency, fearless ball-carrying and over the course of his career has established himself as one of the most ferocious tacklers in world rugby.
Polota-Nau, who joins the Perth-based franchise from the Waratahs, says he is thrilled to have signed with the club and is looking forward to getting started.
“I’m really excited to sign with the Western Force for 2017,” he said.
“There were a few big decisions for me to make that have led to me lining up with the Force for next year.”
“The decision to stay in Australia also came down to the opportunity of playing for the Wallabies again. I think it is really important we make the most of our time in the gold jersey because I think it is something to be proud of.”
After lining up against the Force for the last 11 seasons the solid rake believes the Western Australian side could turn some heads in 2017.
“I think the Western Force have some really good strengths and I’m surprised they haven’t made the most of them,” added Polota-Nau.
“In my time at the ‘Tahs’ the Force have been our bogey team so if we can enhance that and make it consistent for 2017 I think we will be a team to watch.”
Western Force Head Coach Dave Wessels says Polota-Nau is a big signing for the club and will bring a wealth of experience to the team.
“It’s fantastic to have a player of Tatafu’s experience,” he said.
“He’s not only a very good rugby player, in my opinion one of the best in the business, but he’s also a really good guy.”
Polota-Nau’s decision to move west is a ringing endorsement of the changes that are taking place at the Western Force.
“He’s shown a real willingness to want to come here and engage with the community and be part of the Sea of Blue, and I think that’s exactly the sort of person that we want as part of our group,” added Wessels.
“You haven’t played 140 games of Super Rugby and 68 test matches unless you’re pretty special. So it’s great to have him as a part of the Western Force and is another very good acquisition for us. We’re pleased to have attracted another high-profile player to our part of the world.”
Wessels says that the experience Polota-Nau will bring to the front row is invaluable.
“‘Taf’ joins us now in a front row that is very experienced with the likes of Pek Cowan, Ben Daley, Tetera Faulkner and Heath Tessmann who have all played over 50 Super Rugby games.
“So, there’s an experienced front row coming together who will be pushed by some very talented youngsters within the group – all of which will lay the platform for us to play some exciting attacking rugby.”