An unexpected visa hurdle stopped his Scottish dreams in their tracks, but new Western Force signing Jono Lance says the setback will now allow him to right a past wrong.
Lance signed for PRO14 side Edinburgh in May, but his contract was cancelled before he even arrived because of visa issues.
The 29-year-old would have needed to play at least 75 per cent of the games in order to qualify for the visa, but Edinburgh’s determination to meet its English player quota meant it couldn’t fulfil those requirements.
Lance was left disappointed by the outcome, but he is now all smiles after being lured to the Force for Australia’s new domestic rugby competition.
The flyhalf was at the Force in 2017 when they were axed from Super Rugby and he says the pain from that time still burns strong.
“We’ve definitely got a chip on the shoulder to go well and right a few wrongs from 2017,” Lance said.
“If you told me in 2017 that I’d be back in Perth playing Super Rugby for the Force, I would have told you you’re dreaming.
“It’s amazing to be back here doing it. Fingers crossed by the time our home games come we’re allowed crowds and the borders are open.
“I think it would be a pretty safe bet to put money on the fact that the Force will have the highest Super Rugby crowd number this year.”
Lance, who played two seasons for the Force before their axing, arrived back in Perth on Friday.
He is currently serving his two-week quarantine period at the house of his girlfriend’s mum.
The trio will add vital experience to a Force outfit that will start as rank underdogs against their Australian rivals.
Lance says the Force’s spirit will make up for their lack of experience.
“I think everyone at the Force has a big buy-in and they’re very excited about an opportunity that three months ago they never thought they would have had,” Lance said.
“There’s a lot of guys who want to test themselves and take that next step.”
The Force’s first fixture is in round two when they take on the Waratahs in Sydney on July 11.
– Justin Chadwick
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