Super Rugby Pacific: Bryce Hegarty on his way to Western Force

David Skippers

The Western Force have bolstered their backline stocks ahead of next year’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign with the signing of utility back Bryce Hegarty.

The 29-year-old played for Leicester Tigers during their triumphant 2021/22 Premiership campaign and will join the Force midway through the upcoming season in England.

Experienced campaigner

Hegarty has plenty of experience and started his professional career with the Melbourne Rebels in 2013. He also had stints with fellow Australian sides the Waratahs and Reds as well as Japanese Top League clubs Toyota Shokki Shuttles and Black Rams Tokyo.

He won his 100th Super Rugby cap during the Reds’ victorious 2020 Super Rugby AU campaign and is looking forward to be part of a new era at the Force under incoming head coach Simon Cron.

“I’m joining a team that’s clearly on the rise and ready to challenge the top teams of the competition,” Hegarty said.

“Simon (Cron) is one of the best coaches I’ve worked with. The way he connects the group to get the best out of the players is something quite rare and I’m really excited to be working with him again. “Joining the Force is a great opportunity to help the club be one of the dominant teams in Super Rugby. I’m looking forward to doing everything I can to help the team achieve that.”

The Force’s general manager of rugby Matt Hodgson believes Hegarty will be a valuable addition the squad.

“Bryce is a proven winner having won titles with the Reds and Leicester. He holds the confidence and winning mentality that we’re determined to build on across the club with Simon (Cron) at the helm,” Hodgson explained.

“Bryce’s time in the UK and Japan has equipped him with the skills and knowledge to play different styles and understand the game at an elite level, which he can pass onto our youthful inside backs.

“He’s a player that allows us flexibility in our approach on either side of the ruck. His ability to identify gaps and control the tempo at 10 or 15 is a major asset for the squad.”

Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick paid tribute to Hegarty and said he expects him to still be a key member of his squad before he heads over to the Force.

“In a short time, Bryce has made a big impact at Leicester Tigers and I am grateful for having had the chance to work with him,” he said.

“I am sure I speak for all of our supporters, as well as everybody at the club, when I say thank you to Bryce for what he has given to Tigers on and off the pitch during his time so far in Leicester.

Helped with Leicester’s progress

“His contribution to what we are building and the experience he has been able to offer has been a great contributing factor to the progress we have made.

“We have plenty of games between now and when Bryce will depart, of which he is committed to playing a big part in and continuing to contribute to Leicester Tigers in the professional and positive way he has since arriving.”

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