Cape Town - The Western Force have announced the re-signing of veteran hooker Heath Tessmann for the 2017 and 2018 Super seasons.
Capped 63 times in Super Rugby, 'Tess' will head into his fifth season with the club, after first signing in 2013 as an injury cover before playing his way into a full contract and becoming a vital member of the squad.
The ever reliable rake played nine games last season for the Force before being struck down with a leg injury, but bounced back remarkably well in this year’s National Rugby Championship (NRC). Tessmann captained the Perth Spirit side to a grand final win in the NRC and showing some of his best form to date.
The 32-year-old says the Western Force is where he wants to continue his career and is excited about the future of the club with Dave Wessels at the helm.
“This is exactly where I want to be playing my rugby,” he told the Western Force's official website.
“I’ve got a lot of faith in this club and this organisation going forward and it’s nice that they’ve shown faith in me as well.
“Dave’s a great appointment by the club and going forward all the coaches they have appointed are coming here for the right reasons. It’s already been great getting stuck into pre-season and the whole squad just can’t wait to rip in next year.”
Tessmann will take the reigns as one of the most senior players in the squad and says that is an opportunity and title he relishes.
“I think it’s something everyone strives for no matter what team you’re in. You want to be the guy wearing the starting jersey in whatever position you’re in and you want to be the guy that leads by example," he added.
“Although, with the likes of Tatafu [Polota-Nau], Anaru [Rangi] and Harry [Scoble] in the ranks, they’re going to provide a good challenge and whoever ends up wearing that number two jersey next year will have earnt it.”
The Spirit captain praised the current NRC competition and says it has been extremely beneficial for his game but also great to see recognition of great local talent.
“For me personally I love playing in the competition, it’s fast so it’s pretty demanding for most of us front rowers running around out there with some of those whippets, but it’s just great," said Tessmann.
“It’s also just been great for developing players. Guys like Manihera Eden and Eric Vasukicakau who were given an opportunity to step up to the next level and really showed a lot.”
Western Force head coach Dave Wessels says that Tessmann is an excellent re-signing for the club and is a vital part of this team.
“Heath is a leader both on and off the field,” he said.
“He’s very competitive, but he’s also a very outgoing social person around the club and when you blend those together you end up with a really nice mix.”
With so much experience in the forward stocks Wessels says it will be competitive for spots next season and that’s a good thing.
“I think competition is good for all of our tight five and it will bring the best out in each of them, while also having a really nice mix of experienced guys and a few younger men who will no doubt push them pretty hard," he explained.
“’Tess’ sets really high standards for the team and he’s a big part of our leadership structure next year.”