Following the departure of their New Zealand import Willie Ripia on Tuesday, the Western Force confirmed that they had been granted special permission by the Australian Rugby Union to recruit a replacement player.
Ripia 'resigned' from the Force, despite having another year left on his contract, after he was caught stealing from teammates, reports said Wednesday.
The 26-year-old flyhalf - who was born in Murupara, New Zealand, and started his Super Rugby career at the Highlanders, before moving to the Hurricanes in 2008 - was captured on CCTV last week taking players' money in the changing rooms at the Force's Perth headquarters, the West Australian newspaper reported.
The club issued a statement on Tuesday saying Ripia would not be part of the Western Force squad in 2012 after the club agreed to accept the flyhalf's resignation, effective immediately.
The franchise was required to submit their full squad list by December 31, 2011 and as such made the request to the ARU for another player to be recruited in place of Ripia.
The contract rules allow the ARU to permit a Super Rugby team to replace a nominated player where it sees fit and with the overall interests of Australian rugby.
Richard Graham and his coaching staff will begin the process of finding a suitable replacement immediately.
"We are pleased with the ARU’s decision to allow us to recruit a replacement player under the circumstances and will look to fill that gap as soon as we can," Graham said.
With the 2012 season fast approaching Graham is not concerned with the time frame of recruiting a new player and has confidence in his current playing stocks at the club.
"James Stannard proved more than capable in the number 10 jersey at the back end of the 2011 season and the playing group have a lot of confidence in his control and ability," said Graham.
"Ben Seymour and Kyle Godwin are continuing to develop in a competitive environment and will add competition and depth to that position,"
"Obviously this has been a disappointing outcome for the squad but our main focus is moving forward and continuing our preparations for the 2012 season."
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