The Western Force has further consolidated its forward pack with lock Sam Wykes and prop Tetera Faulkner each re-signing with the club for a further two years.
Wykes and Faulkner join fellow forwards Matt Hodgson, Hugh McMeniman and Ben McCalman in recommitting to the long-term plan for the Western Force.
Wykes made his Super Rugby debut for the Western Australian side as a 19-year-old against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in 2008. This year he brought up his 50th Super Rugby cap against the Melbourne Rebels in Perth, a milestone that had been previously delayed by a knee reconstruction last season.
The former Australian Schoolboys, Under-19 and Under-20 representative says he’s keen to remain a part of the relaunch of the Emirates Western Force.
"To continue playing alongside great players like Hugh McMeniman, Matt Hodgson, Pek Cowan and Ben McCalman, who I’ve played with since Under-16’s, made the decision [to re-sign] a very easy one," he said.
"We’re a really tight team this season. The team dynamic has changed this year and Foles [Head Coach Michael Foley] has brought a real team culture and not just words on paper but a more determined-rather-than-disappointed approach which every player is committed to.
"We’ve all really bought into what’s happening at the club. It’s long-term success that we are driving towards and while we’ve had a couple of good wins and some narrow losses this year, there’s a long-term goal and I want to be a part of that.
"I definitely want to be part of something good and successful and I believe the Force is building that."
Faulkner has developed into a technically excellent scrummager in Super Rugby and risen through the ranks of the Australian Schoolboys, Australian U19’s and U20’s.
The 24-year-old originally signed with the Western Force during the 2011 Super Rugby season, and made his provincial debut for the Force against the Rebels in Melbourne that year.
Faulkner says he’s excited to be continuing his career with the Western Force.
"I’ve had a lot more game time this year and I’ve learnt a lot and feel like I can really continue to improve and develop my game here at the Force," he said.
"It’s great to be training and learning off a number of experienced front-rowers at the club. This team’s a really close group and we’re definitely moving in the right direction.
"I’m excited to stay in Perth; it’s home for me now, especially with my little kids growing up here and my wife loves it so I’m really happy to be staying."
Foley says maintaining players such as Wykes and Faulkner is an important step for the growth of the side.
"It’s further endorsement for what we’re looking to achieve as a team to have guys like Sam and Tetera re-commit to the club," he said.
"Sam’s returned to the field following a knee reconstruction last year; he’s responded to the extra responsibility he’s taken on within the team and will continue to develop as a leader into the future.
"While still relatively young for a prop, Tetera has shown good development as a two-sided prop, and will continue to be an asset to the side moving forward," Foley added.