Force bolster hooker depth with signing of ex-Crusader Funnell

Mon, Feb 5, 2024, 11:50 PM
by Ben Somerford
New Western Force recruit Ben Funnell spoke to the media after being unveiled ahead of Saturday's pre-season trial game against the ACT Brumbies.

The Western Force today announces the signing of former Crusaders hooker Ben Funnell in another boost to the Club’s forward pack ahead of the upcoming 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season.

Funnell previously played 89 Super Rugby games for the Crusaders from 2011 to 2019, while most recently he played 11 of 12 games for Canterbury in their run to the 2023 National Provincial Championship semi-finals.

The 33-year-old adds depth and experience to the Force’s hooker options, alongside three-cap Wallaby Feleti Kaitu’u and Tom Horton.

Funnell also brings a history of success, winning the NPC five times with Canterbury while he was a major part of the Crusaders’ 2017 Super Rugby triumph, playing in the final and scoring five tries in 16 games that season.

Force head coach Simon Cron said: “The hooker position is one we’re trying to build depth in. We’ve got some exciting talent in that position in our Fortescue Academy who we think will be great in the future, but Ben’s recruitment provides someone in the interim who can add to the group and the culture with his knowledge and experience.”

Funnell was excited about the move to WA and eager to get to work.

“Joining this esteemed organization is an honour, and I am genuinely thrilled about the opportunities ahead,” he said. “I am eager to contribute my skills, passion and dedication to the team's success.

“I look forward to forging strong bonds with my teammates and making meaningful strides on the rugby field. Here's to an exciting and successful journey with the Western Force.”

Funnell arrived in Perth over the weekend and has already joined Force training, with a view to playing in Saturday’s pre-season trial game against the ACT Brumbies from 5pm at Revo Fitness Stadium in Claremont with entry free to supporters.

The Force open their 2024 Super Rugby Pacific campaign on Friday 23 February against the Hurricanes at HBF Park. Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.