Australian franchise hope to no longer be the poorer cousins of the competition.
South Africans Marcel Brache and Chris Heiberg have signed to play with Australia’s Western Force in the 2014 Super Rugby season.
Force said the signing of inside-centre Brache and tighthead prop Heiberg, both from Western Province, showed the Perth-based club was moving away from its reliance on the traditional Australian east coast-based player pool with a renewed focus on developing alternate avenues for selecting players.
“With four (Australian) provinces fighting over the same players on the east coast, we’ll continue to think outside the square with regard to our recruitment,” RugbyWA chief executive Mark Sinderberry said.
Brache, 25, and Heiberg, 28, join South African flyhalf Sias Ebersohn and New Zealand utility back Jayden Hayward as foreign developing players in the Force squad for 2014, while Emerging Springbok Wilhelm Steenkamp and New Zealander Alby Mathewson are the club’s international marquee players.
Brache, who has been signed until the end of 2015, and Heiberg, contracted to the end of 2016, increase to seven the number of new Force recruits for next season, including Steenkamp, Dane Haylett-Petty, Zack Holmes, Wallabies outside back Luke Morahan, and Brumbies scrumhalf Ian Prior.