The Melbourne Rebels are excited to announce several key appointments, new player signings and re-signings as part of a ‘Super Signing Day’ at the Club.
Headlining the appointments is the confirmation of the signing of Kevin Foote, who has today been unveiled as Head Coach of the Melbourne Rebels.
An accomplished and highly respected leader within the club, Foote’s appointment as Head Coach comes after an extensive review process conducted by the Melbourne Rebels board.
Having arrived in Melbourne as the Rebels’ Defence Coach in 2018, Foote was selected as interim-Head Coach for the club’s recent Trans-Tasman competition – a campaign which produced encouraging results under the forty-two-year-old’s guidance.
The Rebels’ newly appointed Head Coach said:
“I’m very grateful for everyone at the Melbourne Rebels for giving me this great opportunity to lead a really special group of dedicated and determined young men.”
“We’ve got an exciting group of players, with some fantastic talent coming through, which will create good competition for spots amongst the current group.
“We’re developing a special culture within the club with the staff, the coaches and the playing group, and I’m excited to take that to the next level next season and give our loyal partners and beloved members and fans something to be proud of.”
Ryan Martin will serve as Foote’s deputy, committing for the next 2 years to be the Rebels’ Attack Coach.
Martin possesses a wealth of top-level teaching experience, having recently coached the Free Jacks in North America’s Major League Rugby (MLR), on top of his previous experiences with Mitre 10’s Otago as Head Coach, the New Zealand Barbarians and the Global Rapid Rugby Asia Pacific Dragons.
Meanwhile, the Melbourne Rebels can also confirm Nick Stiles as the club’s new General Manager of Rugby.
A household name amongst Australian rugby circles, Stiles made 93 appearances for the Queensland Reds over eleven seasons, before becoming an important member of the Wallabies front row during their dominant 2001-2002 era.
Born in Melbourne, Stiles arrives at the Rebels boasting an impressive coaching resume having worked closely with the Queensland Reds, Brisbane City, Rugby WA and most recently, one of Melbourne’s strategic partners, the Kintetsu Liners, in Japan’s Top Challenge League.
Nick Stiles said:“I’m thrilled to be joining the Melbourne Rebels during such a promising time for our Super Rugby club and the wider Victorian rugby community.”
“As we build towards season 2022, there’s a lot to be excited about, and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and helping the club plan for sustained on-field, commercial and community success.”
Continuing the rejuvenation of Melbourne’s rugby program and focus on developing home grow talent is the promotion of highly respected Pom Simona, who will join the Rebels coaching team as Elite Pathway Coach.
The Melbourne Rebels are also pleased to announce the re-signings of several key players including Wallabies’ squad members, Andrew Kellaway, and Victorian star, Rob Leota, who have both re-committed for another two years.
The Northern Panthers’ product produced a breakout Super Rugby campaign this year, playing a crucial role in the Rebels’ emerging second row, making 12 appearances, and placing among his side’s best for metres run, clean breaks, defenders beaten, tackles and lineouts won.
Leota says he’s thrilled to continue representing his home city and playing at AAMI Park in front of his friends and family, in what shapes as an exciting period for rugby in Victoria.
“I love playing for the Melbourne Rebels and it means a lot to me to be signing on for another two seasons. It’s great to see the Burn Boys presence increasing in the club, as more and more locals join the team and we continue to represent our local clubs and community with pride.”
Joining Leota and Kellaway is rising star Josh Kemeny, the experienced Richard Hardwick, and last year’s prized recruit, Joe Powell, with all players re-committing to a least the end of the 2023 season.
Bustling forward, Ross Haylett-Petty, has extended his stay in Melbourne until the end of 2022, signing a one-year extension.
Haylett-Petty will be joined in the second row by Wallaby, Matt Phillip, who returns to Melbourne on a two-year-deal following a successful stint playing overseas with French Top 14 side Pau.
Phillip is one of four exciting new additions to the Rebels’ 2022 playing roster, with the club thrilled to announce the signings of Sevens’ star, Tom Pincus, experienced scrumhalf Moses Sorovi, and the powerfully built No 8 Tamati Ioane.
Hailing from Yam Island in the Torres Strait, Sorovi has made 36 appearances for the Queensland Reds after making his Super Rugby debut in 2017.
The twenty-five-year-old carries a strong junior background having represented the Queensland and Australian Schoolboy teams in 2013, before helping Brisbane City clinch the NRC title in 2015.
Tamati Ioane joins the Melbourne Rebels after dominating the Canberra Club competition over the last two seasons.
Ioane will add explosive ball running and defence to the already hardworking and skilful backrow.
Joe Pincus, who arrives at the Rebels carrying a proven international pedigree, having been a key contributor for the Australian Men’s Sevens team since making his world series debut in London in 2018.
Currently away with the Sevens’ side in preparation for next month’s Tokyo Olympics, Pincus says he’s looking forward to starting the next chapter in his playing career at a club which he believes has a bright future ahead of it.
“I’m really excited to turn the page and pursue this fantastic opportunity with the Rebels,” said Pincus.
“My brother Tom has told me about the program and the supportive culture the club has established, and that was really appealing.
“It’s been a lifelong dream to switch to XV’s and play Super Rugby and I couldn’t have found a better team or city to do it with – I can’t wait to rip in and play in Melbourne, the Sporting Capital of the World.”