Wallaby Ben McCalman has signed a new two-year deal with the Western Force.
The Force will announce today that the tough flanker will be staying with the Super Rugby club for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
McCalman, who made his debut for the Force in 2010, earned his first Wallabies cap the same year.
In 2011 he played all 16 matches for the Force and 11 Test matches, including seven at the World Cup where he scored his first try against Russia and the match winner against Wales in the third place play-off.
His 2012 season was disrupted with a fractured shoulder limiting him to eight Force games. He then broke his arm playing for Sydney University in the Shute Shield.
McCalman 24, has been a mainstay of the Force and Australian packs after graduating from the Australian Schoolboys, Under-19, Under- 20 and Sevens teams.
“I love playing for the Force, I love living in Perth and my preference was always to stay,” he said.
“Last season was a tough one, not just for myself but from a team point of view as well. It was frustrating being injured on and off throughout the year and that was compounded with the side not doing so well.
“But the past six months or so have been excellent and it’s exciting to see that we’re definitely headed in the right direction.
“Foles [Michael Foley] and the coaching staff have put together a very professional program. Everyone’s bought in to the standards we’ve set and the way we want to play, and I don’t think we’ve ever felt as prepared going into a season.
“I’ve always enjoyed being part of this forward pack with guys like Browny [Richard Brown], Hodgo [Matt Hodgson] and Pek [Cowan] and we’ve got a number of new and young guys who are really putting the pressure on. It’s also exciting to have a new backline that’s developed really well over the pre-season and we can’t wait to see what they’ll bring this season.”
Coach Michael Foley said McCalman’s signature is a prized one.
“Ben’s been a key member of this side over the past three seasons. He’s a player that earns the respect of his teammates and supporters by being uncompromising in the standards he sets for himself," he said.
“He provides us with utility value across the back five of our forward pack, and importantly will develop into an important leader within this team in coming seasons.
“Our goal is to grow and develop this side into one that can continually challenge in this competition, and recruiting, developing and retaining players like Ben is a key step in realising that objective.”
McCalman also extended his contract with the Australian Rugby Union until the end of 2015.
He is determined to make up for the lost time with the Wallabies.
“It wasn’t easy missing out last year but the break has given me a decent rest and added to the hunger to get back. I’ve had a good off-season, have enjoyed getting back into my work with the Force and can’t wait to get started again,” McCalman said.
“There’s a lot to look forward to this year with a new coaching team and a lot of new faces at the Force, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of playing against the British & Irish Lions, and then the Rugby Championship and Spring Tour after that.”
The versatile forward, has played in four different positions in the Australian forward pack, achieved the rare feat of making a Test debut in the same year, 2010, as he had made his maiden appearance in Super Rugby.