Victorian hooker Jordan Uelese has committed to Australian Rugby ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup after the rising star was recognised for his breakout year with a new Melbourne Rebels and Rugby Australia contract.
The contract extension with the Rebels until the end of 2020 caps off a remarkable year for the 20-year-old home-grown talent who shot into Australia’s World Cup calculations with his performances in 2017.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to continue my Super Rugby career in my home town with the Rebels,” Uelese said.
“It’s the dream of every player in Australia to represent the Wallabies at a Rugby World Cup but I understand that I’ve still got plenty of hard work ahead of me to improve all areas of my game to give myself the best chance.
“I feel like my best development will come at the Rebels in the world-class rugby environment so I look forward to playing my part in contributing to the club on and off the field for the years to come.”
Uelese established himself as one of the most promising forwards in Australian rugby following his Super Rugby and Wallabies debuts, and represented Australia at the World Rugby U20s Championship in Georgia.
Uelese made three Super Rugby appearances this year after his debut off the bench against the Blues in the opening round of the 2017 season at AAMI Park.
The young hooker caught the eye of Wallabies coach Michael Cheika with his impressive performances at the 2017 World Rugby U20s Championship in Georgia and was named in his first Wallabies squad for The Rugby Championship.
Uelese showed no signs of nerves when he made his Wallabies debut off the bench against South Africa in Perth before a try against Argentina in just his second Test appearance in Canberra.
“We’re thrilled that Jordan has recommitted to the Melbourne Rebels and we’re incredibly proud of his achievement as the first home-grown player to progress through every level of the Rebels pathway to debut for the Wallabies,” Melbourne Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said.
“We’re determined to build a Melbourne Rebels franchise around long-term key players and we see Jordan as one of those core players who will significantly contribute to the future success of this club on and off the field.
“Jordan’s an example of what can be achieved and, despite his young age, is a role model to his teammates and the Victorian Rugby community.”
Uelese is currently with the Wallabies on the Spring Tour ahead of the team’s final Test of the year against Scotland on Saturday (Sunday morning AEDT).
The Melbourne Rebels will kick-off their 2018 Super Rugby season at home when they host the Queensland Reds on Friday 23 February at AAMI Park, Melbourne, from 7.30pm (AEDT).
Join the Rebel Army for the 2018 Super Rugby with memberships now on sale from as little as $88 for an adult, $35 for children and $216 for a family of four for all eight home games.