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Houston to return from England and join Reds

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Queensland Super Rugby franchise have signed loose forward Leroy Houston from English Club Bath until the end of the 2018 season.

Houston will be immediately available for selection for both the Reds and the Wallabies, after being released from the remaining year of his contract with English club Bath. He has returned to Australia this week.

The 29-year-old has spent the last three seasons with Bath in the English Premiership, where he established a reputation as one of the competition’s most dominant loose forwards.

Originally from New Zealand, Houston moved to Australia as a teenager. He made his Super Rugby debut for the Reds in 2008 and played 46 games for Queensland overall. He was part of the Super Rugby title-winning squad in his final year with Queensland in 2011. He has also represented the Australian Under 19s, Under 21s and Australia A.

Houston said he was excited to return to Ballymore and Reds colours.

“Queensland and the Reds are my home, so there was no other choice when I decided to come back to Australia,” he said.

“I have awesome memories of my time at Ballymore. There’s a good bunch of young lads at the club and some really experienced players there too. I’m looking forward to getting back there and contributing to what they’re trying to build.

“I was there in 2008 when it was tough going, so I know what it’s like to experience that, but we won the title in my last year and hopefully I can share some of my experiences with the current group.

“There’s a lot of potential there and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Queensland Rugby Union Executive General Manager – Reds, Daniel Herbert, said: “We’ve been talking to Leroy for a long time and we are looking forward to welcoming him back to Ballymore. He has matured as a person and a player during his time overseas and brings a wealth of experience and a dynamic ball carrying ability to our team.

“Leroy has a strong desire to help the Reds reach their potential over the next few years and to play Test Rugby for the Wallabies. We will all be helping him achieve those ambitions.”

Houston was with Bath for three seasons and made 89 appearances and commenting on the decision, Houston said: “This has been an incredibly difficult decision for me – I have loved every minute of playing for Bath. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at the Club for making my time here so enjoyable, and for their understanding in allowing me to leave to pursue my international ambitions. I’d also like to thank the fantastic supporters, who have given me so much support since I’ve been here – they’ve been amazing to me.

“Getting the opportunity to represent my country has always been an ambition of mine, and getting the chance to realise that is the only reason that I would even consider leaving Bath. I love this Club, the people here and the beautiful city, and I will definitely miss it – I’ll be watching and cheering on from Australia!”

Toby Booth, First Team Coach at Bath, added: “Leroy has been fantastic in his time at Bath, and we’re really sad to see him go. His performances speak for themselves – he’s always given 100% every time he’s pulled on the Bath shirt. He’s been a hugely popular member of the squad, always smiling and willing to go the extra mile, and we’ll miss that. We’d all love to see him achieve his aim of playing for Australia.”

Leroy Houston
Position: Loose forward
Height: 188cm
Weight: 114kg
DOB: 10/11/1986 (29)
POB: Levin, New Zealand
Representative honours: Australian Under 19s (2006), Australian Under 21s (2007), Queensland (2008-2011), Australia A (2010).
Queensland Rugby debut: 2008 v Highlanders, Suncorp Stadium
Queensland Rugby caps: 46
Queensland Rugby points: 10 (2T)
Super Rugby debut: 2008 v Highlanders, Suncorp Stadium
Super Rugby caps: 46
Super Rugby points: 10 (2T)

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