The West

Force prop could play against the Wallabies
Kieran Longbottom. Pic: Getty Images

There is real irony in Kieran Longbottom's move to English club Saracens for the next two years.

Having been considered a Wallabies World Cup prospect, the Western Force prop could now play for England.

The tighthead was on Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie's radar but when he became aware that Longbottom had agreed to the Saracens move he took him off his list under the ARU policy of not choosing overseas players.

But Longbottom, the first born-and-raised West Australian to progress through the local juniors system to the Force and whose heritage makes him available for England, has no regrets.

His background also made him very valuable to Saracens, losing finalists in both last season's European Heineken Cup and English Aviva premiership, because he will not take up one of their overseas player spots.

But none of that crossed Longbottom's mind when considering the lucrative move abroad. He did not even realise his English availability until he made the decision.

"I didn't go hunting or searching for anything," he said. "The opportunity just landed in my lap and when an opportunity presents itself like that you have to take it and run with it.

"In any situation you have to take the opportunity that is in front of you. You have to take certainty when an opportunity is staring at you in the face.

"If you wait for something better to come along it might never arrive or just walk you by.

"I knew I had English ancestry but I didn't think anything about it until it was mentioned to me.

"It's obviously a bonus and I have thought about it (playing for England), but playing for Saracens is my priority."

Longbottom, who started his career with the Rockingham club, was in the first Force academy intake in 2006, and played for the WA Gold representative side and Perth Spirit in the Australian Rugby Championship before making his Force debut in 2008.

While his next two years are mapped out, Longbottom said he would always consider returning to the Force.

Meanwhile, Force senior assistant coach David Wessels and backs coach Kevin Foote will be in charge of Perth Spirit in the inaugural National Rugby Championship.

The pair will continue a coaching partnership that spans back to the 2009 Varsity Cup season with the University of Cape Town Ikey Tigers in South Africa.

The pair will be assisted by RugbyWA junior elite coach Dwayne Nestor and former Wanneroo coach Elwee Prinsloo.

The West Australian

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