Brumbies back Robbie Coleman is heading west, after signing with the Force for two seasons.
In a big blow for the ACT franchise, whose backs stocks have already been heavily depleted by the departure of Joe Tomane, Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano’s illness, Coleman will join the Perth club.
Coleman has played 80 Super Rugby matches for the Brumbies, after growing up in Canberra, and said the call was the most difficult of his tenure, with a year still remaining on his contract.
“This is definitely the hardest decision I’ve had to make in my career,” Coleman said.
“Being a Queanbeyan junior, it was always my dream to play for the Brumbies and I’m very thankful that I’ve been able to run out and represent the side 80 times.
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“I’ll miss Canberra and the Brumbies fans and thank them for all of their support over my years with the club.”
Coleman’s relationship with new Force coach Dave Wessels played a major role in luring him to Perth, with Wessels a former Brumbies consultant.
“I met Dave back in 2012 when he was working at the Brumbies and I had a great relationship with him then,” he said.
“Now that he’s the head coach of an exciting team, it was an offer too good to refuse and I can’t wait to get out there and pull on the blue jersey.”
Coleman has been touted as a potential Force recruit in recent years but in an injury-plagued stint, he felt he wasn’t ready to start anew.
Wessels made no secret of the fact the franchise had targeted Coleman.
“We’re delighted to sign Robbie,” he said. “We’ve actually been trying to get him for a number of years as I was lucky enough to have coached him at the Brumbies.
“We know he’s a very good player and we know he’s exactly the type of player we want in our group as well, so we’re very pleased to have him come to the west.”
Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said while it wasn’t ideal, they were supportive of Coleman’s move.
“While we are disappointed that Robbie has decided to leave, we understand that the opportunity he’s been presented is a great one for him.”
“Robbie has been a part of the Brumbies development program since a young age and we are all very proud of what he has been able to achieve.
“We wish Robbie all the best on this next chapter in his career.”