With the changing of seasons, preparation for season 2022 is now officially under way, with pre-season set for full bloom come the first week of October.
The Melbourne Rebels will begin their pre-season campaign earlier than previous seasons, in a bid to strengthen their on-field connection under the coaching team of Kevin Foote, Geoff Parling and Ryan Martin.
For Glen Vaihu, the premature kick-off should provide a sound building block to what he hopes will be a strong second season of Super Rugby action.
After overcoming several nagging injuries last season, Vaihu made his Super Rugby AU debut in the Rebels’ Round 1 clash against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.
The Melbourne-born centre would go on to play six games for the Rebels in 2021, including the club’s final game of the season against reigning Super Rugby Aotearoa champions, the Crusaders.
In a sign of things to come, the Victorian prodigy boldly burst through the Crusaders vaunted defensive line to race over and record his first Super Rugby try in what was his maiden professional start.
Reflecting on his whirlwind season, Vaihu said he was grateful to make his Super Rugby debut playing alongside teammates he had grown up idolising as a junior back in Brisbane.
“Debuting for the Melbourne Rebels in the city I grew up in, alongside teammates I’ve watched and cheered on from afar, it was a special moment for myself and my family,” said Vaihu.
Despite his speedy ascension through the playing ranks, Vaihu believes his experience has only fuelled his motivation to grow as a player and help the Rebels claim Super Rugby’s ultimate prize.
“It’s still surreal to me but certainly getting the taste at that level, I’m hungrier for more and can’t wait to get pre-season underway next month.”
An esteemed student at the University of Melbourne and one wise beyond his years, the nineteen-year-old revealed an insightful takeaway from his first season of professional rugby: no matter the circumstances, never take life too seriously.
“Obviously your first season is a massive learning experience, but what struck me was the value in the ability to never take things too seriously - you don’t really appreciate it till it’s done.
“Enjoy the moment - don’t take it too seriously and always find time to laugh because it may not add years to your life but adds more life to your years.”
Vaihu headlines a strong core of exciting prospects at the Rebels.
Victorian duo Josh Canham and Sione Lolesio will continue to build on their promising starts at the club, while Carter Gordon, Isaac Aedo Kailea and Rhys Van Nek have all shown their enticing values on the Super Rugby stage, with impressive cameos throughout last year's competitions.
The recent signings of Queensland pair Lukas Ripley and Zac Hough has provided further momentum to the notion the Rebels are building for long-term, sustainable success – something that’s not lost on their exciting Junior Wallaby.
“We’ve had a number of key signings which has been really exciting for the club.”
“The younger generation of Burn Boys coming through the ranks is also really exciting to be a part of– we’re certainly building something special at the club.
“Amongst those boys, I’ve got a little cousin Patrick Lavemai coming through as a Burn boy. I’m really keen to experience and see him grow into not only a player but an individual.
“It’s an exciting time and the whole squad is now just focused on getting pre-season underway and putting in the hard yards from day one.”