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'Hungry to perform at that next level': Gibbon excited for Australia A challenge

Wed, 15/06/2022, 8:01 am
Rebels Media
by Rebels Media

Melbourne Rebels prop Matt Gibbon says he’s excited for the opportunity to make a name for himself on the international stage following an impressive fifth season of Super Rugby.

Gibbon was today named alongside Rebels Vice Captain Reece Hodge in the 30-man Australia A travelling squad ahead of next month’s Pacific Nations Cup in Fiji.

The former Melbourne Rising product’s ascension to international contention has been a memorable one.

Gibbon first arrived in Melbourne as part of a large group of Club and NRC players who were invited to train with non-Wallabies’ Rebels at the end of 2018.

Not to be overawed by the occasion, the quietly spoken individual let his game do the talking, impressing the Rebels coaching staff almost immediately, eventually leading to a fairy-tale opening round Super Rugby debut in Melbourne’s thrilling 34-27 win over the Brumbies in Canberra.

The young prop would cap off his remarkable debut season by taking home the Rebels’ prestigious Spirit of Weary Dunlop award in 2019.

Two years and 20 Super Rugby games later, the twenty-seven-year-old would enjoy his most consistent campaign to date, making 12 appearances and recording career-highs in starts (7) and minutes played (546) in 2022.

Gibbon believes getting his body right was the catalyst behind his strong Super Rugby Pacific campaign.

“From a personal standpoint, I performed a lot better this season than the past couple of years, which was a good reward from a tough pre-season,” said Gibbon.

“ I felt like I nailed my preparation and conditioning, and to be honest it was the first time in a while where my shoulders both felt one-hundred percent, which gave a lot of confidence going into each game.”

Today’s national squad is set to assemble on Sunday June 26 in Sydney before flying out to Fiji for their first game against Samoa in Suva on July 2.

Following this, Australia A will face Fiji on July 9 in Lautoka, before wrapping up their tournament against Tonga seven days later.

Gibbon says he’s looking forward to the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of Australia’s best and brightest players, and to continue to push for Wallabies’ honours.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity for myself.”

“The experience you’ll get being around such high calibre players and coaches on tour while playing at the next level against international opposition will be great for my development.

“I’ve always wanted to play for the Wallabies and represent my country at the highest level, on the biggest stage, so this puts me one step closer, and it’s a prospect I’m really excited for.”

As the Melbourne Rebels begin to shift their focus to the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season, Gibbon says it’s been exciting to see several of his experienced teammates re-commit with the Club, including Cabous Eloff and reigning Players’ Player and Spirit of Weary Dunlop recipients Brad Wilkin and James Tuttle.

“Obviously, last season didn’t go to plan, so everyone is determined to bounce back, continue to grow and perform at the level we know we’re capable of.

“It’s been awesome seeing some really important guys re-sign - we’re all just really hungry to rip in for next year and play some exciting rugby for our members and fans.”