Melbourne Rebels’ fullback, Lewis Holland, says he’s raring at the prospect of making his Super Rugby AU debut tonight against the top of the table Queensland Reds at AAMI Park.
The former Australian Sevens’ Captain, 2016 Olympian and veteran of 51 Sevens’ games, joined the Rebels last year following the cancellation of the Sevens’ World Rugby Series due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After enjoying a phenomenal preseason campaign at La Trobe’s state of the art training facilities, the twenty-eight-year-old was struck down by a lower body injury, putting on hold a likely Round 2 debut.
Now fully recovered, and with another solid block of training behind him, Holland says he's eager to make up for lost time and hopes to make a fast start to his Rebels’ career tonight.
“I’m really excited to get out there and make an impact with the boys against a quality team,” said Holland. “I came down to the Rebels hoping to play most of their games, but obviously I got injured, so that wasn’t the case.
“I’ve ticked all the boxes now and I’m feeling good - you don’t train to train; you train to play, so that’s the key and I’m really happy to run out with the guys this week.”
After clinching the opportunity he had been working towards for the past nine months, Holland immediately messaged his biggest supporter – partner, Charlotte Caslick, to break the exciting news.
A household rugby name in her own right, Caslick is currently playing for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL Women’s Premiership after spending the past eight years as a member of the Australia Sevens’ Women’s program, where the twenty-six-year-old went on to win gold for Australia at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
With Caslick coincidently due to travel down to Melbourne to visit Holland this weekend, the timing of his Super Rugby debut “worked out perfectly.”
“The first person I told was Charlotte – surprised her with a message saying that I’m on the bench this weekend and she was really excited.
“It’s funny because she’s been living in Sydney while I’ve been here in Melbourne, but this week she was coming down on the weekend regardless, so now it makes it a bit more of a business trip and I’m looking forward to having her in the stands on Saturday.
“I think Mum and Dad will also come down and watch, which will be really nice.” Reflecting on his decade-long professional playing journey, which began when he ran out as an eighteen-year-old for the Australian Men’s Sevens’ team in 2011, Holland said he was grateful to have received more preparation for his second top-level debut.
“My first game as an Australian Sevens’ player, I had just played in a tournament, and then trained and played and then caught a plane, so everything unravelled all at once.
“But over here, I was able to come down to Melbourne last year and have that time to adjust and to get to know the boys and all the staff, and really launch into this season.
“Coming from the Sevens’ program, I’ll be looking to attack - I thrive on that side, and back my ability with the ball in hand.
“So, expect good ball movement and plenty of attack.”
The Melbourne Rebels clash with the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park, tonight at 7:45 PM. The watch the clash live, please visit Ticketek or watch live, ad-free and on demand on Stan Sports or 9Gem.