The Western Force have signed Brumbies utility back Robbie Coleman for the 2017 and 2018 Super Rugby seasons after he was released by the Canberra side.
Coleman had a year remaining on his contract with the Brumbies but will head west to continue his rugby career.
His decision to relocate to Perth will conclude the Queanbeyan junior’s six years with the Brumbies.
The 26-year old says he has made the decision to leave the Brumbies with a heavy heart, but is excited to continue his career in Australian Rugby.
“This is definitely the hardest decision I’ve had to make in my career,” Coleman said.
“Being a Queanbeyan junior, it was always my dream to play for the Brumbies and I’m very thankful that I’ve been able to run out and represent the side 80 times.
“I’ll miss Canberra and the Brumbies fans and thank them for all of their support over my years with the club.”
The home-grown talent burst onto the scene as prolific aged-grade representative in 2010. He leaves the club with 80 Super Rugby caps to his name, all of which have been played with the Brumbies. He made his Super Rugby debut in 2010 for the Brumbies against the Reds in Canberra.
Brumbies Head Coach Stephen Larkham said “While we are disappointed that Robbie has decided to leave, we understand that the opportunity he’s been presented is a great one for him.”
“Robbie has been a part of the Brumbies development program since a young age and we are all very proud of what he has been able to achieve.
“We wish Robbie all the best on this next chapter in his career.”
Coleman developed his game as a fly-half, moving through the Australian Schools, U20s and Sevens squads.
In more recent years Coleman has shown his ability at fullback and on the wing, scoring 17 tries and 85 points during his tenure with the Brumbies.
Most recently Coleman was named vice-captain of the Vikings for the 2016 National Rugby Championship.
Coleman says it was time to change and the fact that he’ll now be coached again by Dave Wessels was a huge factor in his decision.
“I met Dave back in 2012 when he was working at the Brumbies and I had a great relationship with him then,” he said.
“Now that he’s the head coach of an exciting team, it was an offer too good to refuse and I can’t wait to get out there and pull on the blue jersey.”
The pacey back says that he hopes to bring experience and a tough attitude to the Force and looks forward to the challenge that next season will bring.
“What I’m hoping to bring to the squad is that second source of a ball player and basically being able to give the playmakers a bit of a voice out there, while providing a bit of speed and acceleration out there.
“If I can give any advice and help anyone out there, I’d be more than happy to and I’m just really excited about a fresh start with the Western Force.”
In what was a red hot National Rugby Championship for Coleman this season, he says consistent game time has given him confidence to head into next year.
“There was actually talks of me heading over to the Force a few years ago, but my body just wasn’t in the right physical condition.
“I didn’t really want to make the move when I was injured and know I couldn’t give my all to the club. Now that I’ve played a lot of rugby back-to-back and my body is feeling great, I’m ready to have the best season of my career.”
Western Force head coach Dave Wessels is thrilled to have Coleman sign and says it’s been in the works for some time.
“We’re delighted to sign Robbie,” he said. “We’ve actually been trying to get him for a number of years as I was lucky enough to have coached him at the Brumbies.
“We know he’s a very good player and we know he’s exactly the type of player we want in our group as well, so we’re very pleased to have him come to the west.”
Wessels says that Coleman’s experience is a huge advantage and will bring a lot to the squad.
“Robbie has played 80 Super Rugby games in a successful team and has a winning mentality, but he’s still only 26-years-old, so he has a lot of good rugby left in him.
“He can play a number of different positions in the backline which is useful for us and he’s also a left footer which makes him very valuable.
“Most of all the thing I love about Robbie is that he’s a winner. He’s a very competitive guy and he is exactly the type positive energy we need in our group.”
Name: Robbie Coleman
Date of Birth: 3/8/1990
Place of Birth: Canberra, Australia
Position: Utility Back
Super Rugby caps: 80
Super Rugby points: 85
Super Rugby debut: (Brumbies) 2010 v Reds