Omedetō! Melbourne Rebels congratulate champions and partners, the Kintetsu Liners.
The Melbourne Rebels extend our sincere congratulations to our partners at the Kintetsu Liners on winning the Japanese Top Challenge League Championship, going undefeated through all of their competition matches.
By winning the Championship, the Liners have now also confirmed that they will regain their much deserved place in the Top League for the 2020-21 season.
Speaking early on Monday morning from Melbourne, Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson praised the leadership of the Liners.
“We are extraordinarily proud of our great friends at Kintetsu on winning the Top Challenge League. We are privileged to have had the opportunity to build a strong and open working relationship with the executive and coaching staff of the Liners and it is no surprise to us to see their dominance given the conscientious and humble approach they embrace in all aspects of their Club,’ Stephenson said.
“Since formally becoming partners in September 2019, we have embraced the opportunity to share knowledge and learn from one another and the Liners have now very much laid an impressive of success.’
“We look forward to welcoming Kintetsu to Melbourne for our inaugural match later this year and we will be ready for the challenge!”
The Kintetsu Liners have played the 2019-20 Japanese season in Top Challenge League, having been relegated from the Top League after the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. The fortitude and professionalism they have shown to immediately bounce back up to Japan’s pre-eminent competition is evident in the opinion of Melbourne Rebels Head Coach David Wessels.
“Congratulations to Arimizu, Izumi and Nick, along with all of the Liners coaching staff on their emphatic Championship win and on quite possibly the best season by any team in the history of the Top Challenge League,’ noted Wessels.
“Having been lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend a few weeks with you in the lead up to this season, your success is no surprise given the diligence of your preparation and the commitment of your players and staff. We know that you were very clear in your vision to return to the Top League and you have now made that a reality.’
“We also congratulate our Rebels alumni, Will and Quade, for their key roles in the team’s success and look forward to welcoming Ryan (Louwrens) fresh off the Liners success for our Super Rugby campaign.”
Wessels joined the Liners at their Osaka training base for a two week pre-season training block in November, which included consulting on the Liners adoption of new performance software under the leadership of former Rebels Head Analyst, Eoin Toolan.
Stephenson concluded by congratulating long-serving Liners and 67-Test Japanese Lock, Luke Thompson, on his incredible career.
“On behalf of the entire Rebels organisation we congratulate Luke on his outstanding career and acknowledge the massive contribution he has made to Rugby in Japan. It is hard to believe Luke has turned 40 given his outstanding performances at the recent RWC and consistency for the Liners for well over a decade. Loyalty and excellence are characteristics we often preach and value, and Luke has exemplified them consistently throughout his career in the over 110 games he played with the Club. We wish him every success for the future and he is welcome in Melbourne, anytime.”