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Thread: Force bolster hooker depth with signing of ex-Crusader Funnell

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Force bolster hooker depth with signing of ex-Crusader Funnell

    Tue, Feb 6, 2024, 7:50 AM
    BS
    by Ben Somerford

    The Western Force today announces the signing of former Crusaders hooker Ben Funnell in another boost to the Club’s forward pack ahead of the upcoming 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season.

    Funnell previously played 89 Super Rugby games for the Crusaders from 2011 to 2019, while most recently he played 11 of 12 games for Canterbury in their run to the 2023 National Provincial Championship semi-finals.

    The 33-year-old adds depth and experience to the Force’s hooker options, alongside three-cap Wallaby Feleti Kaitu’u and Tom Horton.

    Funnell also brings a history of success, winning the NPC five times with Canterbury while he was a major part of the Crusaders’ 2017 Super Rugby triumph, playing in the final and scoring five tries in 16 games that season.

    Force head coach Simon Cron said: “The hooker position is one we’re trying to build depth in. We’ve got some exciting talent in that position in our Fortescue Academy who we think will be great in the future, but Ben’s recruitment provides someone in the interim who can add to the group and the culture with his knowledge and experience.”

    Funnell was excited about the move to WA and eager to get to work.

    “Joining this esteemed organization is an honour, and I am genuinely thrilled about the opportunities ahead,” he said. “I am eager to contribute my skills, passion and dedication to the team's success.

    “I look forward to forging strong bonds with my teammates and making meaningful strides on the rugby field. Here's to an exciting and successful journey with the Western Force.”

    Funnell arrived in Perth over the weekend and has already joined Force training, with a view to playing in Saturday’s pre-season trial game against the ACT Brumbies from 5pm at Revo Fitness Stadium in Claremont with entry free to supporters.

    The Force open their 2024 Super Rugby Pacific campaign on Friday 23 February against the Hurricanes at HBF Park. Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.

    https://www.rugby.com.au/news/new-we...funnell-202426

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    Champion andrewg's Avatar
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    Excellent pick-up.
    Adding some worthwhile experience to the player squad

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    Veteran Sheikh's Avatar
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    Hopefully Thrushy gets in his ear about staying around in Perth and life after rugby

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    Must be a slow news day, had a brief interview on 5pm Nine News.
    Poor bastard looked like he was about to expire!
    I guess South Island via Japan Winter will do that to you...

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    Typically South Island. Wasn't really forthcoming on his answers but nobody really asked anything worthwhile anyway from what I could hear.

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Title-winning Crusader Ben Funnell eager to add final chapter to career
    Wed, Feb 7, 2024, 7:28 AM


    Former Crusaders hooker Ben Funnell has been handed the chance to add a final chapter to his Super Rugby career after signing with the Western Force.

    Funnell played 89 Super games for the Crusaders between 2011 to 2019, which included a major role in their charge to the 2017 crown.

    Don't miss Super Round 2024 in Melbourne from March 1-3. Get your tickets now!

    The 33-year-old scored five tries in 16 games in that title-winning campaign, and he more recently played 11 of 12 games for Canterbury in their run to the 2023 National Provincial Championship semi-finals.

    Funnell will add experience and depth to the Force's hooking options, which already include three-cap Wallaby Feleti Kaitu'u and Tom Horton.

    "The hooker position is one we're trying to build depth in," Force coach Simon Cron said.

    "We've got some exciting talent in that position in our (academy) who we think will be great in the future.

    "But Ben's recruitment provides someone in the interim who can add to the group and the culture with his knowledge and experience."

    Funnell wasn't sure whether he'd get the chance to play Super Rugby again after leaving the Crusaders.

    "I was just playing it by ear. I wasn't too worried either way," he said in Perth on Tuesday.

    But when Cron came knocking, Funnell knew the Force would be a good fit.

    "Definitely Simon Cron was an influence and talked me into it," Funnell said.

    "He spoke the same lingo as me. That was the attraction.

    "When I say the same language, I think the way he wants to play the game is the way I understand it."

    Funnell arrived in Perth over the weekend and has already joined Force training, with a view to playing in Saturday's pre-season trial game against the ACT Brumbies at Revo Fitness Stadium in Claremont.

    Perth is expected to swelter through a top of 40C on Friday, 41C on Saturday and 40C on Sunday.

    "It's a different kind of heat here," said Funnell, who hails from New Zealand.

    "You can breathe alright, it's dry. But I've never experienced 40 degrees."

    The Force posted a 21-19 trial win over the Reds in Queensland last week.

    Their season begins on February 23 against the Hurricanes in Perth.

    https://www.rugby.com.au/news/titlew...-career-202426

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