After two interrupted years, the Rebels Under-18 Academy squad is fired up for the new season ahead.
With just over a month until their opening game, new Rebels Under-18 Academy Coach Cliff Viliamu said his side was ramping up its preparations, taking full advantage of the Rebels’ world-class facilities which, he believes has fast-tracked his squad’s development.
“The training has been great, and the boys are learning quickly on field and in the gym and thriving with the access to the Rebels’ incredible facilities which are world-class and a real credit to the vision and ambition the Club has,” said Viliamu.
“It’s been huge for growth not only with our players but also the coaches and high-performance staff who are really enjoying the opportunity to train and work in such fantastic surroundings.
“It's also something special for us, especially being a local boy from Melbourne and seeing the growth of this sport in our state. Obviously, there weren’t facilities like this going around in my day so to see this now and the new opportunities it will create with pathways and talent development, it’s a really exciting time for Victorian Rugby and the Melbourne Rebels.”
The Rebels Academy kick-off their campaign with back-to-back home matches beginning on June 24, with a Friday night clash against the Western Force Academy at Harlequin Rugby Club, before battling the Queensland Reds Academy two days later.
The Rebels then hit the road, facing the Brumbies in Canberra on July 2, before wrapping up their season with clashes against the Waratahs and the Queensland Reds’ secondary Academy team.
Led by rising stars Tavi Tupuloutu and Leafi Talatina, Melbourne’s Under-18 Academy side will enter the new season full of confidence, thanks to the fantastic support by the Club’s proud sponsor, Shaw and Partners.
On Monday the Rebels hosted a night of celebration with family and friends, with the Academy’s season launch and official unveiling of Shaw and Partners as the Principal Partner of the Club’s Academy program in 2022.
Senior Wealth Adviser Ben Morrissey, said the partnership was focused on strengthening the connection between community and elite level rugby in Victoria.
“The Rebels are a Club in the early stages of massive growth if they can continue the strategy of expanding the game of rugby union into areas within Victoria boasting extensive untapped talent,” said Morrissey.
“Shaw and Partners chose to specifically support the Rebels Academy program to strengthen the link between community rugby and the elite level, with a goal of keeping the best talent here in Victoria.
“The program offered a unique opportunity to support the future of Victorian Rugby by building a clear pathway for young athletes to grow from community and school rugby, all the way through to international competition.
“Our hope for the current players in the Academy program is to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Rebels Academy and elevate their game sufficiently to be considered for the Elite Pathways squad, then the senior Rebels team and then to the Wallabies.”