Gloucester centre Bill Meakes has signed with the Western Force for two seasons.
Meakes has played 46 matches for Gloucester in the Premiership, for seven tries, and the former Australia U20s and Sevens representative received an early release form his contract to come to the Force.
Meakes has already arrived in Perth and has been getting involved with the club.
“I am absolutely stoked to be here and looking forward to getting stuck in,” he said.
“I met the boys just a few days ago and everyone has been extremely welcoming and the city looks beautiful so I’m really excited to be here for the next two years.”
Meakes said he always hoped to return to Super Rugby after leaving for the Premiership for more game opportunity.
It's not an entirely dissimilar pathway to recent Wallabies debutant Dane Haylett-Petty, who spent three seasons in France before returning to Perth and ultimately earning a Test opportunity.
“Playing in England was definitely the turning point for me I couldn’t quite crack it before I left and Super Rugby was a massive goal for me but that time in Europe allowed me to develop into the player I am today," he said.
“Growing up, playing Super Rugby was always a goal for me. Playing club footy you get so close but I didn’t quite get there so I guess it was unfinished business for me. Once the opportunity came with the Force I was really keen to take it.”
Interim Head Coach Dave Wessels says Meakes would have a positive impact on the club.
“We are very excited about what Bill can bring to club,” he said. “We have heard and seen a lot of good things coming out of Gloucester. He has come in with a great attitude and there is no doubt he is going to be great asset for us moving forward.”
“Obviously Bill has arrived here very early and I think that shows a real keenness to get involved and start working which is exactly the type of player we want. All the way through the negotiations it was very clear that he is extremely ambitious and has a hunger to perform which is a great attribute to have.”
Meakes's signing is a crucial one, with reports that Brumbies current inside centre Kyle Godwin is headed to Canberra next season.