Rampaging lock Hugh McMeniman has committed to the next stage of the Emirates Western Force’s relaunch by re-signing with the club for a further two seasons.
McMeniman, who is yet to complete negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union, has been a star performer in the Emirates Western Force pack this season, starting in the second row in all but one of the Emirates Western Force’s seven matches.
The 29-year-old returned to Super Rugby this season after three years with Japanese club, the Kubota Spears, having previously spent five seasons with the Queensland Reds.
The powerful, hard-running forward – nicknamed ‘Madness’ – earned 21 Test caps for the Wallabies between 2005 and 2009, including four appearances during Australia’s 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign. McMeniman began his Test career with his debut against Samoa in Sydney in 2005 after progressing through the ranks of Australian rugby with the Australian Schoolboys (2001) and Australia A (2005).
McMeniman’s re-signing follows that of captain Matt Hodgson, who has also recommitted for a further two seasons.
McMeniman says his preference was to stay in Western Australia with the Emirates Western Force.
“I’ve loved playing my rugby here with the Force and in Perth; I’ve really enjoyed being part of the program and being a part of this playing group,” he said.
“The direction we’re heading in is very positive. Already this season we’ve taken a number of big steps as a side; there’s a clear direction in terms of where we want to end up and we’re on our way to achieving that.
“Foles [Michael Foley] and the coaching staff have been fantastic for me and my development, and having Joycey [Head of Athletic Performance, David Joyce] here has been a big bonus for me as well.
“While there was interest elsewhere, I was always keen to stay with the Force. My partner Georgie and I really like living in Perth, we’ve got some great friends here now and I know it’s the best place for me to continue my footy.
“There’s no doubt that we’re building towards some good results in the future and it’s exciting to know I’ll be a part of it.”
Head Coach Michael Foley says McMeniman’s signature is an endorsement for the direction of the Emirates Western Force.
“It’s fantastic to have Hugh re-sign with us and it’s testament to the culture that’s being created within the team,” he said.
“Anyone who’s watched Hugh play will know how competitive and ambitious he is and it’s a ringing endorsement for the blokes he plays with that he wants to continue his career with us here at the Force.”
Meanwhile, Emirates Western Force Forwards Coach Nick Stiles will join the Queensland Reds for the 2014 Super Rugby season.
Stiles informed the club that a desire to return his young family to Brisbane after seven years in Japan and Perth was the key factor for the move back to Queensland.
Stiles, who joined the Emirates Western Force for the 2011 season, will continue his role within the club’s coaching staff through until the end of the 2013 Super Rugby season.