Cross switches codes and heads to Force Wednesday Jun 14 13:00 AEST NRL representative centre Ryan Cross is switching codes and has knocked back offers from the NSW Waratahs and the Brumbies to play his rugby union with Super 14 newcomer Western Force. The Sydney Roosters back announced he'd signed a two year deal with Australian Rugby Union and RugbyWA today. A former Australian Schoolboys fullback, Cross returns to the code after nine years in rugby league. He is set to join a vibrant young backline being assembled by the Force which finished last in its 2006 Super 14 debut season. He'll join fellow recruits in Wallabies Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell alongside the likes of Cameron Shepherd, Scott Staniforth, Mat Henjak and Lachlan MacKay. Cross also fielded approaches from Super 14 semi-finalist NSW and perennial powerhouse the Brumbies. The Waratahs boast fellow rugby league backline converts in Lote Tuqiri, Mat Rogers and the suspended Wendell Sailor but have now missed out in attempts to add Andrew Johns, Braith Anasta and Mark Gasnier in recent times. The Brumbies pitched strongly on the chance to replace the departed Giteau and play amongst established Wallaby backs George Gregan, Stephen Larkham, Stirling Mortlock, Mark Gerrard and Clyde Rathbone. Cross said the three offers he had received all had their strengths and appeal, and were financially competitive. "In the end, I was able to make my decision with a strong focus on what I felt was best for me as a footballer and for my family," he said. "The rugby program explained to me by (Force coach) John Mitchell and (CEO) Peter O'Meara and the opportunities and potential available in a developing rugby organisation like the Force ultimately tipped the scales in their favour." "The challenge to make a successful return to rugby after so many enjoyable seasons with the Sydney Roosters is something I will certainly look forward to." Cross went to league in 1998, earned NSW City Origin selection in 2004 and 2005, and has scored more than 80 tries in over 130 first-grade appearances for the Roosters. The early stages of his rugby league career were hampered by injury, first a broken leg in 2001 and then a knee reconstruction, but Cross made a successful return in 2003, finishing the season as the Roosters' top tryscorer. Wallabies coach John Connolly said that Cross was a great acquisition for rugby. "He is a good footballer and a player who I believe has a lot to offer the game, said Connolly. "We will be watching his progress with the Western Force with a great deal of interest." Force coach Mitchell said: "He's big and strong - a good sized outside centre who will certainly attract defenders. And he's a good offloader of the ball, with adept footwork, and like most league players he has sound defensive technique. "What I also like about Ryan is that he's very fit and focused he wants to be a Wallaby and we want people at this club with that kind of vision."