Western Force coach Richard Graham has secured another two important ingredients in his 2012 forward pack with the signature of young Waratahs loose forward Lachlan McCaffrey and the retention of lock Phoenix Battye.
A former national Under-20 representative, McCaffrey was part of the 2010 Australian side that made it to the Final of the Junior World Cup in Argentina, playing alongside the likes of Western Force players Justin Turner, Paul Alo-Emile and Battye.
The 21-year-old made his Super Rugby debut in 2010 and looked destined for increased game time in 2011 but a broken leg and dislocated ankle in the semifinal of the Shute Shield last year meant a long layoff.
Graham said McCaffrey, who can play both as a flank and No.8, would be a positive addition to the club's impressive back row options which features Wallaby capped players across all positions.
"Locky [McCaffrey] is someone who has the physical traits around the breakdown and is skilled in the line-out. He also has the capacity in his game to run a little wider and that can open up our attacking options," explained Graham.
McCaffrey returned to action with New South Wales first grade side Eastwood six weeks ago and has been a strong contributor in their impressive season to date which has them sitting at the top of the Shute Shield ladder.
While the long injury layoff was frustrating for the youngster it did give him plenty of time to contemplate what he wanted to achieve in rugby and when the opportunity came to head to Perth as part of the Western Force he knew it would be a positive move.
"My goal is to just keep improving my game, to play Super Rugby next year and show what I can do on the rugby field," McCaffrey said.
"I think the Force can look forward to a good season, there is a good team being developed in Perth and I'm on board with what everyone wants to achieve at the franchise.
"I was out for eight months with my leg injury and you realise how lucky you are just to be playing. You realise that every training session you need to get as much out of it as you can and every time you play you have to keep improving," he added.
Aside from his Aussie U20 teammates who are playing in Western Australia, McCaffrey has also lined-up alongside Western Force forwards Sam Wykes and Kieran Longbottom at Eastwood and also nippy back James Stannard in previous campaigns in Sydney.
Meanwhile, the club's second row stocks are in good shape with Battye upgraded to the senior squad after joining the Western Force last season as a rookie.
The 20-year-old Battye worked diligently on the training track throughout 2011 and continued to develop his game with Wanneroo in the Premier Grade and also Randwick in the Sydney competition.
He is one of four locks signed to the Western Force for the 2012 season alongside Nathan Sharpe, Sam Wykes and new recruit, former Chiefs second row, Toby Lynn.
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