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Greg Holmes returns to Australia with Western Force

Prop Greg Holmes has ended his four-year stint with the Exeter Chiefs to return to his native Australia on a short-term contract with the Western Force, the English Premiership club said Saturday.

The 37-year-old former Wallaby front-row had been set to retire at the end of the current English season, but the coronavirus pandemic has seen him change his plans.

Greg Holmes
Photo: Greg Holmes

He will end his playing career representing the Force in a revised Super Rugby tournament in Australia set to start in July.

“In my head I was going to finish my career with the Chiefs, retire and then move on to the next stage of my life,” Holmes, who won a Premiership title in his first season with Exeter, told the club’s website.

“Obviously, COVID-19 stopped all of that, not just for me, but for people around the world. It’s certainly been strange times for all of us and it’s meant that I won’t be able to finish here in Exeter as I wanted.”

Holmes, who won the last of his 27 Australia caps in 2016, added: “Some of my fondest rugby memories have come from my time here in Exeter and I’m just so glad I’ve been able to experience what I have — and be a small part in what has been a successful period for the club.”

Looking ahead to playing for the Perth-based Force, Holmes said: “It’s an opportunity I wasn’t expecting.

“This is a chance to make the trip home a little easier, but at the same time go out playing.”