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Veteran trio call time on careers

With over 400 games of Super Rugby experience to their names, the Western Force can confirm that storied veterans Jeremy Thrush, Richard Kahui, and Greg Holmes will be retiring at the end of the season.

Thrush has been a Force fan favourite ever since making the move to WA in 2018 from Premiership side Gloucester. The towering lock, who made over 100 appearances for the Hurricanes and has made 140 Super Rugby appearances, has been an ever-present figure at the Force in a transitional era for the club.

The 12-time capped All Black has represented the Force in the National Rugby Championship (NRC), World Series Rugby, Global Rapid Rugby, and Super Rugby competitions over four seasons (38 caps).

Revered as a player who gives his all for the jersey and his teammates, Thrush played a pivotal role in the Force’s 2019 NRC title win and has been an influential part of the squad with the club returning to Super Rugby in 2020.

“The support of the fans has been amazing, I’ve been blown away by it week in and week out,” Thrush noted.

“This last chapter at the Force has been some of the most enjoyable of my career. The camaraderie we’ve had has been fantastic. I’ve turned up every day here with a smile on my face, and I’ve loved being a part of it.

“To see so many young players come here and go on to forge Super Rugby and international careers has been one of my favourite things to take out of my time here.”

Kahui has been a household name since his eye-catching performances on the wing during the All Blacks 2011 World Cup triumph, which was followed up with a Super Rugby title campaign with the Chiefs in 2012.

Forging a reputation as a versatile, powerful, and hard running midfielder, Kahui has made 97 Super Rugby appearances (31 for the Force) and earned 17 Test caps for the All Blacks in a stellar career.

The former Highlander and Chief signed for the Force in 2020 after seven seasons in Japan with Top League side Toshiba Brave Lupus. Known for his physicality at both ends of the field, Kahui has become a crucial figure for the Force throughout his three seasons with the club.

“I’d like to thank Tim Sampson for giving me the call to join the Force. He’s a great man that cares about his players, so I’ll always be grateful to him. There are so many guys in this team that I’ve got great memories and friendships with,” Kahui explained.

“Most of my favourite moments are based around winning with the Force, the All Blacks and the Chiefs. One of the things I’ve found really special has been the time in the sheds after a game, as it’s always been a chance to reflect and appreciate the journey.

“I’ve absolutely loved it here at the Force. It’s been a great three seasons. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything the Western Force is trying to grow. The fans have been so loyal and loud, so it’s been special to have their support.”

Holmes, who made his debut for the Queensland Reds in 2005 against the Blues, has enjoyed a fantastic career, which included a 2011 Super Rugby title.

The front rower has made 169 appearances in Super Rugby (27 for the Force) and earned 27 Tests for the Wallabies, including two World Cup campaigns in 2007 and 2015.

Holmes joined the Force in 2020 from Exeter Chiefs after spending four years with the Premiership side and winning the Premiership title in 2017. The prop has proved a crucial member of the squad bringing invaluable knowledge and technique to the forward pack.

“I’ve had a long career, and I’m very happy with what I’ve achieved. It’s the right time for me. I thought I was going to finish up a few years ago in England, so it’s been great to return to Australia and finish my career here,” Holmes said.

“I’ve loved my time at the Force, there’s an unbelievable group of people here. Alana (wife), Bodhi (son), and I now call Perth home, which is the ultimate compliment I can give.

“I can’t thank my wife Alana, and my Mum and Dad enough for their support over the years.”

General Manager of Rugby Matt Hodgson praised the influence of the retiring trio.

“I’d like to congratulate Jerry, Kaks, and Homer on their outstanding careers, in particular their time at the Force,” Hodgson said.

“They are players and people who have given their all to the Force on and off the field, having played integral roles since joining the club.

“On behalf of the entire organisation, I’d like to wish them and their families all the very best for the future.”

Fans will have the opportunity to celebrate the trio on Saturday night against the Hurricanes at HBF Park, with a place in the finals on the line.