The Western Force have confirmed the re-signing of Richard Hardwick for 2018.
Hardwick has been a breakout star for the WA franchise this season, making his Wallabies debut against Fiji in Melbourne just shy of a fortnight ago.
The former Force academy player said his next goal was to step into the number seven jersey, that will be vacated by the retiring Matt Hodgson, though that will depend on the resolution of the ongoing Super Rugby uncertainty that has plagued the Perth franchise.
He was signed to a Force contract after a standout NRC season with the Perth Spirit, kicking off that impressive rise through 2017.
The 23-year-old told RUGBY.com.au last month that the security of being in contract had helped propel him to Wallabies selection in a challenging year off-field for the club.
“It’s awesome, I’m looking forward to another year and putting consistent performances together for the Force," Hardwick said in a release
"We've taken a lot of confidence out of what I’ve been able to achieve this year and can’t wait to go again next year and build on that.
“With ‘Hodgo’ hanging up the boots I want to step up and play in that number seven jersey and try the best I can to fill his boots.
"He’s a legend of our club and he’s done so much for the club but I’ll do my best and give everything I have to this team.”
Force coach Dave Wessels said Hardwick had plenty of great things ahead of him.
“’Dickie’ deserves all the recognition that has come his way recently,” he said.
“He’s extremely hard working and plays for those around him, but he also understands that there is plenty more for him to work on. We’re delighted to have him as part of the group in 2018 and beyond.”