The Western Force Super Rugby franchise have snared former budding NRL star Jordan Rapana on his return from a two-year Mormon mission in Britain.
The 21-year-old Rapana has agreed to a code switch which will see him reunited with his older brother Joelin, a Force rookie who played a part in attracting him to Perth.
The move comes as NSW Origin and Manly Sea Eagles star William Hopoate prepares to leave on his own Mormon mission for two years at the end of the NRL season.
Rapana’s commitment to his religious faith saw him opt out of the second year of a two-year contract with the NRL’s Gold Coast Titans to spend the past two years doing mission work in England and Wales.
He had already made a strong impression with his footballing ability, scoring five tries in his five NRL matches for the Titans in his debut 2008 season after being signed straight from school.
He was also named in the NRL’s Under-20s Team of the Year and selected to play for NZ Maori against the NRL Indigenous All-Stars before departing.
The New Zealand-born youngster was unable to participate in pro football programs during his missionary stint but said his time in rugby union strongholds including Gloucester, Worcester, Swansea and Cardiff helped rekindle his love of the code.
“I was brought up on rugby and our family is really passionate about the game,” said Rapana.