Rugby’s newest league convert Curtis Rona is a genuine talent and has the hunger to do well in the 15-man code, according to Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.
The 24-year-old Canterbury NRL winger signed with Super Rugby club the Western Force on a two-year deal on Friday.
New Zealand-born Rona will return to Perth, where he grew up and played rugby union as a teenager.
He was a junior member of the Force’s academy until he switched to league in 2009.
Rona has scored has scored 39 tries in 49 NRL matches.
“I had the opportunity to meet him and he’s very hungry to do well in this sport,” Cheika said.
“I’m really looking forward to him being involved in Super Rugby next year and see where it goes from there, but he’s certainly a talent.”
The 194cm and 102kg Rona should add finishing power to a Force backline which has lacked potency in recent seasons, when the Perth-based club has languished in the lower reaches of the Australian conference.
“The signing of Curtis is good for us on a number of levels,” interim Force coach Dave Wessels said.
“Obviously being a local boy him coming home means a lot as we look to keep growing rugby in the state and the second thing is that he’s a weapon.
“At 24, he is still very young so we feel he fits nicely in our plans for our backline.”