Veteran Western Force rugby hooker Heath Tessmann has likened himself to a trusty FJ Cruiser as he gears up for the team’s assault against their Australian rivals.

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Tessmann thought his Super Rugby career was over in 2017 when the Force were booted out of the competition.

But he has the chance to renew rivalries against the Queensland Reds, Brumbies, NSW Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels in Australia’s new domestic competition.

At age 36, Tessmann knows he is at the tail end of his career.

But he says there is still plenty of fuel left in the tank, especially after making a full recovery from a plantar fascia injury.

“I didn’t get my first professional contract until I was 24, 25,” Tessmann said.

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“It’s like finding an old FJ Cruiser in the garage and it’s only got 10,000 kms on it.

“It’s tough, it might be a bit old, but it still works pretty well – it’s still pretty handy.

“For me, I love playing. I still turn up here every day excited to go and compete. I want to win no matter what I’m doing.

“As far as injuries are concerned, I’ve got the body of a 28-year-old again.”

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Tessmann feared his Super Rugby career would end on just 10 games after being axed in 2012 by the Rebels.

But he flourished after signing an initial eight-week contract with the Force in 2013, notching another 63 Super games over five years before the franchise was axed.

Although the Force will lack the experience of their Australian rivals in the new domestic competition, Tessmann is confident they’ll be able to put up a big fight.

“We’re a competitive group. None of us go out there just to make up numbers,” Tessmann said.

“We’re not putting our hand up to be part of this competition to play a bit of rugby because we’re bored. We want to go out there and win games.”

The Force kick off their campaign on July 11 against the Waratahs in Sydney.

– Justin Chadwick

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