The Melbourne Rebels are thrilled to announce their 32-man playing squad for the upcoming Super Rugby Pacific season.
The Rebels will enter their 12th year carrying an exciting blend of youth and experience, with 26 players retained from last year’s Super Rugby AU and Trans-Tasman campaigns, including 11 players aged 24 years or younger.
Among the new additions is experienced scrum-half Moses Sorovi, Olympian Joe Pincus, Tamati Ioane, Efi Ma’afu and young centre Ray Nu’u, who recently joined the Club.
Nu’u travels to Melbourne after impressing with New Zealand Provincial Championship sides Southland (2018-2020) and Otago (2021) and will be a valuable addition to the Rebels depth at centre, with more details to come later in the week.
Meanwhile, 2020 Players’ Player recipient, Matt Philip, will return to the Stockade following a successful stint playing overseas with French Top 14 side Pau.
The twenty-seven-year-old will be joined by Wallabies’ teammates, Rob Leota and Andrew Kellaway, who have both re-committed to the Rebels following breakout 2021 campaigns.
After making 12 appearances for the Rebels last season, Leota has won 6 Test caps with the Wallabies, while Andrew Kellaway has been nominated for World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year award in recognition for his spectacular maiden Test season.
Complementing this international experience will be the presence of backrow stars Josh Kemeny and Richard Hardwick, scrumhalf Joe Powell and lock Ross Haylett-Petty, who have all chosen to return to the Club.
Melbourne Rebels GM of Rugby, Nick Stiles, was thrilled with the makeup of the 2022 playing squad, as the Rebels look to continue developing its emerging stars.
“We’re really excited about this year’s campaign with the blend of experience mixed in with some of the country’s most exciting up and coming young players,” said Stiles.
“Carter Gordon showed great promise during last year’s Trans-Tasman, and guys like Ilikena Vudogo, Lachie Anderson, and Thomas Nowlan, will all continue to grow as they accumulate more Super Rugby experience.
“Our squad also carries a number of high calibre Wallabies such as Rob Leota, Andrew Kellaway, Reece Hodge, Matt To’omua, Jordan Uelese and Matt Philip – guys who carry that international experience which will be crucial in leading the way during a 15-week Super Rugby competition.
“Led by a new coaching group, we’re really excited to be back at home playing in front of our fans and making the Victorian community proud of our efforts on and off the field.”
The Rebels begin their 2022 Super Rugby Pacific campaign against the Western Force in Perth on February 19, before playing their first home game back in Melbourne against the Brumbies on February 27.
It promises to be a memorable year for the Victorian rugby community, with the Rebels confirmed to host 7 home games including 4 themed rounds and a Super Round in Round 2, which will see all 12 teams descend upon Melbourne for three action-packed days of rugby.
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Melbourne Rebels 2022 Squad
Rhys Van Nek