Sydney - Former Junior All Black and Waikato Chiefs tighthead prop Ben Castle has signed with the Western Force for this season as the Australian team's marquee international player, Force said Saturday.
Castle earned 42 Super Rugby caps with the Chiefs during his five seasons in Waikato after debuting against the Canterbury Crusaders in 2004.
He also played for the Junior All Blacks against Australia A in Sydney in 2005.
A former captain of New Zealand provincial side Bay of Plenty, the experienced tighthead last played with Toulon in France.
At 185cm (6ft) and 115kg (253 lbs), Castle is a powerful scrummager who can play on either side of the scrum.
"He's an old-school type of prop who is a good fit for our squad. He will add experience and depth to our ranks," Force coach John Mitchell said.
"He's renowned as a strong scrummager and will have benefited from his season in France."
Western Force kick off their Super 14 season with a home match against the Auckland Blues on February 13.