Valentine gone as love lost from Force - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Valentine gone as love lost from Force

By Justin Chadwick 06/05/2009 10:22:55 AM Comments (0)

The player exodus from Western Force has continued with scrumhalf Josh Valentine the latest to confirm he will leave the Super 14 club.

Valentine has inked a two-year deal with Brumbies, meaning the blossoming relationship he has developed with Matt Giteau at the Force this season will continue in Canberra.

The 26-year-old, who has notched four Tests for the Wallabies, the last being in 2006, said he felt his best chance of breaking back into the national set-up was by playing alongside Giteau.

"I've certainly enjoyed playing inside Matt Giteau at the Force and with Matt going to the Brumbies next season I'll hopefully have the opportunity to continue building that partnership," Valentine said.

"That was certainly one of the major reasons I've signed with the Brumbies but they have a number of quality players and are heading in an exciting direction.

"My first priority is to finish the season with the Force and hopefully pinch a semi-finals spot.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time in Perth this year but I'm also excited about the future in Canberra."

Valentine's impending departure is a major blow for the Force, who will also lose Drew Mitchell (NSW), Giteau (Brumbies), Scott Staniforth (Japan), Tai McIsaac (Japan), Tamaiti Horua (Ulster) and Ben Castle (Wales) at season's end.

The futures of emerging Wallabies Richard Brown and James O'Connor are also up in the air.

With Giteau a certain starter at five-eighth for the Wallabies, Valentine is hoping to squeeze Luke Burgess out of the No.9 jersey.

"Josh has formed an excellent combination with Matt Giteau at the Force and he's put himself in a good position to continue that partnership at Wallaby level this year," Brumbies coach Andy Friend said.

"That certainly provides a healthy option for the Brumbies going forward."

Valentine's deal with the Brumbies means Friend is likely to cut two of his current scrumhalves, with Josh Holmes, Patrick Phibbs and James Stannard all in the firing line.

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