Former Wallaby and Waratah Sam Norton-Knight has agreed to leave Japan and play Super Rugby for the Force for the next two seasons.
Having previously played one season with the Brumbies (2005) and four with the NSW Waratahs (2006-2009), the 28-year-old more recently spent one season with Wales' Cardiff Blues before joining the Panasonic (formerly Sanyo) Wild Knights in 2010, where he won a Top League title in his first season (22-17 over Toyota) and finished runner-up to Suntory in 2011 (37-20) and 2012 (21-9).
Having already recorded 49 Super Rugby caps with the Waratahs and nine with the Brumbies, Norton-Knight brings with him a wealth of top-level rugby experience, which has also seen him represent his country on two occasions.
In the absence of regular playmaker Stephen Larkham, Norton-Knight was selected as starting flyhalf in the Wallabies' 29-23 win over Wales in Sydney in 2007 before scoring his first international try - as a replacement - in the Wallabies' 49-0 win over Fiji in Perth a fortnight later.
Norton-Knight, who can cover flyhalf, fullback and inside centre, says he's looking forward to returning to Super Rugby.
"This wasn't an opportunity I thought I'd have when I left in 2009," he said.
"I will have been away for four seasons and the timing was right to come back to Australia and I'm really excited about this opportunity that's been presented at the Force.
"I'm very keen to test myself in Super Rugby again, particularly with the [British and Irish] Lions touring next year. There are a number of players who have had success after coming back from Japan to play in Australia and this only confirmed my decision to return.
"I've been to Perth a number of times and I've always loved it there," he said.
"I've also kept in touch with guys like Brett Sheehan, who not only says it's a great place to live but a fantastic place to play your footy as well.
"When I played Super Rugby, of all the Australian teams, the Force was always one of the toughest and a team I didn't particularly enjoy playing against. Those are the teams you want to be playing for and obviously we'll be doing what we can to make life difficult for other teams on the field next year."
RugbyWA CEO Vern Reid says in addition to his on-field performances, Norton-Knight will play a crucial role as a senior member of the Western Force.
"Sam comes to us with considerable rugby knowledge and as a well-travelled footballer," he said.
"He's been a part of a number of successful sides, including starting for the Waratahs in their 2008 Super 14 final and winning a Top League premiership in Japan.
"Through the recruitment of Sias Ebersohn and Junior Rasolea we have some outstanding young talent, but it's important to balance that with experience which is something Sam certainly provides. "
Name: Sam Norton-Knight
Position: Flyhalf/inside centre/fullback
Representative Rugby: 2010-2012 Panasonic Wild Knights, 2009 -2010 Cardiff Blues, 2007 Wallabies, 2006 -2009 NSW Waratahs, 2005 Australia A, 2005 Brumbies