Returning Rebel Rob Leota, says last year’s experience with the national side has only fuelled his hunger for Super Rugby success with the Rebels.
The Rebels’ newest Wallaby joined his Melbourne teammates for the first time this year during last week’s pre-season camp at Geelong Grammar, alongside Andrew Kellaway, Reece Hodge and returning Rebel, Matt Philip.
Reflecting on his maiden international season which included appearances against the Springboks, Japan, Wales, Scotland and England at a packed Twickenham, Leota said he was excited to pass on his lessons learned to the club’s younger teammates and launch into his seventh year of Super Rugby at the Rebels.
“Playing for Australia was a great experience and something I didn’t expect," said Leota.
“Finally getting there was a challenge itself but debuting against the Springboks for my first game was a great challenge – they were really big boys and very physical, but I enjoyed it.
“When you get one taste you want to keep going every week and show what you can do against the best in the world and now I’m excited to take that knowledge back to Melbourne with our younger boys and with the Rebels this year.”
The Rebels’ Super Rugby Pacific campaign is now just 31 days away, with the Rebels opening their season with a Round 1 clash against the Reds in Brisbane on February 19.
One of the many aspects exciting Leota in 2022 is the fierce competition among the playing list, with many of the club’s younger players impressing during the Rebels’ three-month pre-season campaign.
Leota believes this growth will prove crucial during the 15-week regular season.
“To be back with the boys and mingle with the lads and see how far they’ve come while we’ve been away has been awesome.
“Last year seeing guys like Jeral [ Skelton] and Isaac [ Aedo Kailea] debut, trying to help those guys as much as I can, and seeing them play for the Rebels, I felt so proud seeing them be the best they can be and these younger guys are certainly going to play an important role for us this year.”
Another aspect is playing back in his home city, with the Rebels locked in to play their highest number of games at AAMI Park since 2019.
“Being able to play in front of our fans for those 7 home games, that will be special and the buzz for me being a local lad from here, it’s going to be great.”
“I’m excited to rip in for what will be a really successful year for our Club.”
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