Stanley makes Force move
Blues back heads west on two-year deal
Last Updated: July 22, 2011 4:04pm
The Western Force have snapped up exciting Blues back Winston Stanley to bolster their backline for the 2012 season.
The 22-year-old, who was nominated IRB Junior Player of the Year after his role in New Zealand's victorious 2009 U20 World Cup side, has signed a two-year deal with the club.
Stanley made his Super Rugby debut for Auckland in 2009, and has played alongside older brother and All Black centre Benson Stanley for the last three seasons.
But when he was approached by Force coach Richard Graham about a move to Perth, he was only too eager to head west to expand his rugby horizons.
"I had been well looked after in Auckland and also playing in the same side as my brother was really great," he said.
"However, I considered what I wanted to get out of my rugby and a fresh start at a club with a strong reputation for their professional programme was really appealing.
"In my discussions with Richard (Graham) it became very clear the aspirations and direction he wants to take the club and the resources being put in to achieving those goals."
Western Force have built a brand new $17million state of the art rugby training facility in Perth, which is playing its part in attracting new recruits.
And Stanley is well aware of the efforts that have been made to assemble a squad capable of challenging at the top end of the Super Rugby ladder.
Graham said he was delighted to have signed Stanley, whose uncle is former All Black and 1987 World Cup winner 'Smokin' Joe Stanley.
"Winston is light on his feet which enables him to win contact and off load and will add something to our attacking game," he said.
"At 22 years of age he is still learning and growing in the game but is also mature in terms of his development having come through a very good system in Auckland."
Stanley will remain in New Zealand to play out the ITM Cup competition as part of the Auckland side before heading to Perth for pre-season training starting in November.