Western Force have snared Queensland Reds fly-half Hamish Stewart who was at the centre of poaching allegations by the Melbourne Rebels.
Stewart, who played for Australia A in the Pacific Nations Cup last month, has signed a two-year contract to join his former Australian under-20s coach Simon Cron at the Force.
He has been a Reds backline mainstay since making his Super Rugby debut in 2017, starting at fly-half before shifting to inside centre.
The former Junior Wallaby, 24, who played 72 times for the Reds, was at the centre of last month’s the tug-of-war controversy.
The Reds asked Rugby Australia to investigate as they fought to stop him joining the Rebels next season.
Queensland Rugby Union said in a statement that they and RA “executed a binding agreement” with Stewart to remain at the Reds for 2023.
“We have been made aware of another club’s attempt to allegedly induce a breach of this agreement which we have asked RA to investigate,” the statement said.
The Rebels had been looking for cover after Matt To’omua was granted an early release to take up a contract in Japan.
Stewart was also stood down by Reds coach Brad Thorn for an alcohol-related “discipline issue” ahead their top-of- the-table clash with the Brumbies in March.
Reports said it was internal issue around club standards.
The reports claimed the QRU said it was a combination of factors including a late arrival to a team medical check-up smelling of alcohol. Stewart maintained he was not intoxicated.
Stewart’s signing comes at a crucial time for the Force after it was confirmed young playmaker Reesjan Pasitoa will miss most of the season after wrecking his knee playing for Perth-Bayswater in a RugbyWA premiership game.