FORMER FORCE PLAYERS RETURN
The Western Force has welcomed back former players Jono Lance and Ollie Atkins to its Vodafone Super Rugby AU 2020 squad.
A two-time Super Rugby champion, Lance joined the Force in 2016 and departed after the team was cut from Super Rugby the next year.
The 29-year-old brings a wealth of experience, having been a crucial part of both the Queensland Reds 2011 and New South Wales Waratahs 2014 Super Rugby Championship teams. In total Lance has played 66 games of Super Rugby.
He returns to Australia after playing for UK side Worcester Warriors in the last few years and initially planned to move to Edinburgh before the COVID19 crisis. The decision to rejoin the Force was a “no-brainer” for the flyhalf.
“I’ve always had a vision that if I was to return to Australia that it would be at the Force. It all happened pretty quickly but as soon as the opportunity came, I was pretty happy to get over here,” Lance said.
“There are quite a few guys who were at the club when I was here last time who are still here and after speaking to the coaches and staff it was a no-brainer for me.”
A fan favourite while at the Force, Lance is excited about returning to play in front of the Sea of Blue.
“There is a huge passion to get back and rip in with the guys that are here and do well for the fans in WA. I was here when the decision was made a few years ago and it was a very disappointing time for everyone in WA rugby.
“I know that the Force fan base is one of the best in the world and to do it for them and put rugby back on the map in Australia is something that I am very excited about.”
Ollie Atkins is another recruit familiar to the Force. He wore the blue and black in 2012, albeit briefly.
The two-metre tall lock played just two games before moving to the UK and becoming a key member of Edinburgh Rugby, then the Exeter Chiefs.
The Hobart born 31-year-old represented Scotland A against England in 2014 and will bring considerable strength to the second row.
Both Lance and Atkins arrived in Perth over the weekend on domestic flights and will be training in isolation during their mandatory two-week quarantine before joining the team in late June.