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Heiberg s fight to top of the props
Chris Heiberg. Pic: Dione Davidson

A brief foray into Super Rugby with the Stormers has given new Western Force prop Chris Heiberg hunger for success.

The front-rower, an overseas development player and one of the growing contingent of South Africans at the Force, broke into the Cape Town-based side last season and made three appearances.

"I was still involved with the Stormers but I was playing out of contract there. When this opportunity came about it was one I couldn't refuse," Heiberg said.

"It was a big decision but I'm at the stage of my life where I want a new challenge, want something different and that's how you grow as a player, experiencing different cultures and coaches.

"It is a big commitment, a big decision and one that I gave a lot of thought to, but it is a decision that I hope will bring rewards.

"It's a move I'm really excited about and hopefully I can cement a spot next season.

"Having a little bit of a taste of Super Rugby last season has made me hungry for success, 100 per cent."

The Force had asked the Stormers to release the 115kg Heiberg, 28, to play against the British and Irish Lions in their opening tour match but the South African side refused.

Force coach Michael Foley has five Super squad props with Heiberg joining Pek Cowan, Kieran Longbottom, Tetera Faulkner and Salesi Manu.

"Competition is good. Competition is healthy. Damn right," Heiberg said. "I'm coming in to compete for a spot with four guys who were already here.

"It brings out the best in my game and it will bring out the best in their game.

"I'm picking up on guys who are more experienced over here, they have already passed a lot of knowledge about the way Foles (Foley) wants to play.

"Obviously you have to tick the boxes as a front ranker, scrumming, line-out work, rucks and mauls. You've got to do your job first, and then free up to carry the ball if needs be."

Playing under the new scrum laws will be a first for the Force props.

"There is a huge emphasis on scrummaging today and I'm excited about playing under the new rules. Scrummaging is now similar to how it was in the olden days," Heiberg said.

"I've spoken to a lot of people back home in South Africa who have played under the new rules, getting advice where I can, and we've been working hard on our technique under coach Foles.

"We are making the steps we need to make."