Force sign Castle as marquee player - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Force sign Castle as marquee player

By Justin Chadwick 01/02/2009 11:47:26 AM Comments (0)

The Western Force have signed former Chiefs and Toulon prop Ben Castle as their marquee international player for the 2009 Super 14 season.

Castle earned 42 Super caps with the Chiefs during his five seasons in Waikato and also represented the Junior All Blacks against Australia A in 2005.

The Force were thwarted in their earlier efforts to acquire a foreign tighthead prop but Toulon's decision at the start of the month to reduce their overseas contingent allowed the Force to swoop on Castle.

At 185cm and 115kg, Castle is a powerful scrummager who can play on either side of the scrum.

"He's an old-school type of prop who is a good fit for our squad," Force coach John Mitchell said.

"He will add experience and depth to our ranks, alongside fellow tightheads AJ Whalley, Troy Takiari and Kieran Longbottom.

"He's renowned as a strong scrummager and will have benefited from his season in France."

Force general manager of rugby Mitch Hardy said Castle would bring a wealth of experience to the club.

"We made no secret of the fact that we were looking for an experienced tighthead over the off-season, and when Ben approached us with an interest in coming to Western Australia we were quick to act," Hardy said.

The deal was approved by the Australian Rugby Union on Friday night and Castle is expected to train with his new teammates on Sunday.

The Force take on the Reds in Queensland on February 5 in their second pre-season hit-out following their 24-19 loss to the Crusaders in Perth last week.

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