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Force sign former All Black Mathewson

Date

The Western Force have started their rebuilding process by signing former All Blacks halfback Alby Mathewson for the 2013 Super Rugby season.

New coach Michael Foley is looking to add experience and depth to the side after the Force finished last in this year's Australian Conference.

Mathewson, who has spent the past three seasons representing the Auckland Blues, will join the West Australian side as its marquee international signing for next season.

The probing halfback was internationally capped four times for New Zealand in 2010 and has amassed 83 Super Rugby caps since making his debut for the Hurricanes in 2007 against the Reds.

The 26-year-old, who played every match for the Blues in 2012, was named New Zealand's Super Rugby Player of the Year in 2010, leading to his Test debut off the bench in the All Blacks' 20-10 win over Australia in Christchurch that season.

Mathewson, who scored the match-winning try for Auckland in their 36-29 ITM Cup season opener against Hawkes Bay on Thursday, says he's excited about a fresh start under Foley.

"This is an excellent opportunity for me and one I'm really looking forward to," he said.

"I've really enjoyed my time at the Blues but this is a chance for me to challenge myself in a new environment, play a different style of rugby and it's a prospect that really excites me.

"The Force are entering a really exciting period with a new coach coming in, and it's a great chance to be part of building something special and for this playing group to leave a significant legacy at the club.

"They (the Force) obviously experienced a tough season this year, but sides have shown that things can be turned around quickly and from my discussions with the club things are certainly heading in the right direction."

Mathewson spent three seasons with the Hurricanes (2007-2009) before linking with the Blues, having previously represented New Zealand Under 21s (2006).

Incoming coach Foley says Mathewson will help bring balance to his squad.

"We're very pleased to welcome Alby to the Western Force as our marquee player for next season," he said.

"As we prepare to relaunch the side, we've focused on recruiting some of the best up-and-coming talent. Having Alby join us in a key position like halfback will not only add to our performance next season, but also ensure we're able to develop our young talent to its fullest potential.

"Alby has a good all-round game with attacking skills that allow him to identify and exploit opportunities in the defensive line. Our goal is to play up-tempo rugby that our players and supporters enjoy, and it's a brand of rugby that will suit Alby's skills.

"Alby's been a stalwart at this level for the past six years and will, along with Brett Sheehan, provide us with two very experienced options at halfback in 2013."

AAP

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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