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Curtis Rona opts against NRL return, signs with NSW Waratahs

Curtis Rona Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Wallabies back Curtis Rona's desire to play at Rugby World Cup 2019 has led to him signing for NSW Waratahs, instead of going overseas or returning to rugby league.

Rona played three Tests for the Wallabies this year after moving across from NRL side Canterbury to join the Western Force. With that franchise cut from Super Rugby, Rona opted to sign a two-year deal with the Waratahs.

He only had one season back in rugby with the ill-fated Force but opted to stay in Australian rugby despite having offers to go overseas and return to rugby league.

"A lot of people do pull the trigger early but I had my first taste of the green and gold jersey," said Rona, who scored a try against the world champion All Blacks on his Wallabies debut.

"It was a memorable moment for me and that's what ultimately made me want to stay in rugby in Australia, because of that jersey. It was awesome. I just wanted more.

"I felt with it only being my first year I thought I still haven't played my best rugby yet is what made me want to stay as well. Having my first year with the Force made me more hungry to keep playing and sign on for the World Cup."

The 25-year-old New Zealand-born back was one of the last Force players to find a new home.

"I just had to make sure I had the right deal for me and my family and make sure I got myself in the best position moving forward," Rona said. "I think I've done that with signing for the Waratahs for the next two years."

Another factor in his decision to sign for the Tahs was the opportunity to play alongside some of Australia's most established and exciting backs in Wallabies game breakers Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley.

"It's a pretty star-studded backline and pretty humble people there in those roles... that sort of enticed me as well," Rona said.

With long standing Waratahs outside centre Rob Horne moving overseas, Rona has the chance to become the first-choice NSW No.13

Rona played at outside centre for the Force, though his Wallabies appearances have been at wing and fullback.