Melbourne Rebels Super 15: Recruitment - Green and Gold Rugby

Melbourne Rebels Super 15: Recruitment

Melbourne Rebels Super 15: Recruitment


The good news for the proposed Melbourne Rebels Super 15 franchise is that the two main parties, VicSuper15 and the VRU Rebels, have formed a partnership and the third is now sniffing around looking for an opportunity to participate.

This is now happening under the auspices of the ARU’s co-opted financial guru, John Wylie. That might mean we now have a viable option or indeed, a going concern.

Once it comes to pass and we’re potentially handed the baton by SANZAR, they’ll be establishing the structure that will deliver the stuff that we’re really interested in like who’ll be the coach; which players will they recruit; how competitive will they be; what will they be called and what will their playing strip look like?

You’d have to say that the establishment of the Western Force is a pretty good template to follow in terms of structure, implementation, coach and players. Sure, the Firepower sponsorship was a bit of a disaster but you can’t win them all. The franchise in WA has been bedded down and apart from the ongoing difficulties with not having a proper rugby ground, which has affected attendance, things seem to be going reasonably well. They have a competitive union side which is there to stay.

I’m going to talk about the prospective coaches and players that I’d potentially recruit. Everyone will have an opinion on this but I’ve given it a bit of thought and made a few assumptions as well. The assumptions are that:

  • We’re a new franchise in a limited market and as such are permitted by the ARU to recruit Australians from abroad whether they’re currently eligible to play for Australia or not.
  • We’re permitted to recruit a smattering of Pacific Islanders and Argentinians.
  • We’re also allowed to recruit a marquee player.
  • Their current contract status is unknown.

Playing Style – forward orientated to some extent; a European style based on scrummaging, mauling and breakdown domination; wet weather capable (it is Melbourne); competent kicking game and an ability to break the line out wide.

Coach – these are the guys I’d be flying to Melbourne to interview:

Steve Meehan. Began his coaching career in Queensland in Premier Grade for GPS. He joined Stade Francais in 2002 and worked as a backs and skills assistant to Nick Mallett then Fabien Galthie. He was then recruited by Bath Rugby in 2006, taking over from Foley. He’s finished 8th, 3rd and 4th in the Guinness Premiership and has been competitive in the Heineken Cup. Bath have had a slow start to this season. They have played an attractive brand of rugby under Meehan. The drug related scandal at the end of last season may have taken its toll but its not his fault they had a few planks in their side.

Anthony McGahan. He came up through the Queensland coaching system via Brisbane Easts and schoolboys (including Churchie); also Australia U19. He was the defensive coach at Munster for a few years before getting the big gig last year. Laurie Fisher is his forwards coach. He made the Heineken Cup final against Leinster and won the Magners Celtic League, so has runs on the board. They’ve had a mixed beginning to this season.

Michael Cheika. Everybody’s talking Michael Cheika! I guess that’s because the mail is saying this will be his last season for Leinster. He’s been there since 2005 and has built it up solidly, peaking last year with the Heineken Cup win. He originated out of Randwick via Padova. He built up a partnership with David Knox which terminated acrimoniously last year. He now has Alan Gaffney and Jonno Gibbes in support. They’re continuing in the same vein this year, winning four out of five Magners League games to date.

Ewen MacKenzie. If he’s still available? Link is famously from down that way and attended Scotch College in Melbourne. He would be a good fit for this job – some have even been linking him to the CEO position. You’d think setting up a franchise from scratch would appeal to him. He was a successful Brumbies and Wallaby assistant and achieved good things at the Waratahs. His premature departure from Stade Francais was disappointing but, hey, they’re Frogs aren’t they? Taciturn and sometimes ‘ornery in public, I’d imagine Link drove some of those NSW Alikadoos crazy…..

I’d also consider Jake White, Pat Howard and Rod Kafer (I reckon Kafe’s a tactical genius – shame about his RUPA connections).

The Players – Melbourne Connection. I’d recruit some players with Melbourne associations to provide important local content to the side:

Digby Ioane. Diggers can become a world class player in the mould of Rupeni Caucaunibuca if he so chooses. He is such a difficult player to tackle with his continuous step and pumping thighs. He just needs to remain injury free. He also needs to focus on being a Wallaby and not what he can earn elsewhere. His whanau live in Melbourne.

Lloyd Johansson. Yes, I know what you’re going to say. But Johansson was exposed way too early to the big time. He had it too easy from schoolboy to Wallaby level. He now plays for Calvisano in Italy as a centre or five eighths. He’s still only 24. I’d like to see a more mature player return – he has all the skills.

Tom McVerry. Tom plays for Kyuden Voltex in the Japanese Top League. He is another player originating from Melbourne. A hard working openside flanker he had limited game time for the Reds due to David Croft’s mortgage on the position, so they converted him to blindside or occasionally No 8. A journeyman but one with heart who could make a contribution.

Marquee Player – Greg Somerville. Tighthead prop who can sometimes play loosehead. Somerville has been a world class player but is now coming towards the end of his career. I’d pick Carl Hayman as first choice but it’s unlikely that he’d be available in 2011. Somerville is a rock and a tough Canterbury boy.

The Rest

Rodney Blake. Rodzilla has had a couple of season over in Bayonne playing Top 14 against some hard nuts. He never really cut it during his Wallaby stint. He was seen as ‘the great white hope’ in response to our abysmal scrummaging performance during Eddie Jones’ tenure. But it was all too much pressure for Rod. Now that he’s matured I reckon he could challenge for a RWC 2011 Wallaby tighthead spot, despite some press rubbish from Tonga speculating that he could end up playing for them.

Marcos Ayerza. This guy is an Argentinean bull. He is a world class loosehead prop who plays for the Leceister Tigers. He’s only 26 yrs old and is taking over from the veteran Rodrigo Roncero (Stade Francais) in the Argentinean pack. He thinks the Super 15 proposal that would include players from Argentina a great idea. In his spare time he plays pianoforte – Chopin and Bach. I think he’d fit right in to the Melbourne scene?

Alex Walker. An Australian U21 player now plying his trade with the Newcastle Falcons. Previously with Leeds and Saracens. A former tighthead prop, he is a strong scrummager and mobile around the park. He holds both an Australian and British passport. Only 25 and a very promising player.

Brent Cockbain. The former Welsh lock is currently playing for Sale in the Guinness Premiership and probably his best is behind him. He is an aggressive forward in the tight with his lineout work a strength. You’d be able to use his experience in a similar manner to the way the Force did with John Wellborn.

Dan Vickerman. If he was fit, playing professional rugby and wanted to return to Australia you’d jump at the chance to recruit him. At his best he’s a world class lock and lineout forward. He would add so much starch to a new franchise and perhaps you could use his business acumen as well? If he was unavailable, I’d go with Al Campbell from Montpellier.

Ben Mowen. Another Queensland product and one of the Waratahs’ stars this year. A tall, rangy and athletic loose forward with lineout skills and a big future. This is a kid whom you could base your franchise around – future captain.

Scott Gray.  Like Bam Bam he is originally from Zimbabwe but ended up in Queensland. An openside flanker, he was recruited to the Brumbies Academy but switched codes and played with the Broncos before joining Bath in the Guinness Premiership. From Bath, Gray joined Border Reivers until their disbandment. Now with the Northhampton Saints he has a number of international caps for Scotland.

Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe. A hard, grafting, classy No. 8 now with Toulon. A natural leader with tactical nous and a touch of charisma. With his captaincy experience for both Sale and Argentina he’d be a leading candidate for the leadership.

Nic Berry. ‘Chuck’ has been with Racing Metro 92 Paris for the past couple of years, gaining promotion to the Top 14 this year. He’s a former Red, nippy on his feet with a good pass and box kick. He departed the Reds at a time when the halfback stocks were relatively healthy – he would be an asset there right now and in contention for a Wallaby spot.

Brock James. He’d be one of the first players I’d recruit. He would be just right for Melbourne conditions and the style of rugby I’d want to play. He has been an outstanding success at five eighth with Clermont Auvergne in the Top 14 but had an average time with the Force and the Reds previously.

Jonathon Thurston. I thought I’d throw this one in just to put you off! We all know his skill level and potential. He’d make a fantastic union player in the halves. The way it’s been reported you’d think that he even might be keen to give it a try. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t come anywhere near to adjusting to the union culture – stick with league mungo!

Paul Warwick. Originating from Brisbane Premier Grade GPS rugby, he has played league with the Broncos, union with the Reds and Connaught in the Magners League and now with Munster. London Irish were trying to recruit him recently but it looks like he’s staying at Munster. He has developed into a very capable fullback or five eighth at this top level, with a strong kicking game.

Mafi Kefu. Another player who has developed into a top line inside centre away from Australia. He was essentially a club and fringe Reds player when he went overseas but has now carved out a starting centre spot with Toulon in the Top 14. One of the famous Kefu clan, a strong and busting player who looks the goods on Setanta.

Marc Gasnier. Le Gaz has also turned into a fine player at Stade Francais as we’d all probably expect, as either a wing or centre. Link speaks well of his progress and there is potential for him to return to Oz for a shot at the 2011 RWC. Maybe he’d go where Link went?

Lachlan Mitchell. Young player out of the NSW Academy who was snapped up by Wasps in the Guinness Premiership last year. He played a number of games for both the A and First XV teams. Speed to burn and impressive skill-set. Looks like a kid with oodles of promise.

Cameron Shepherd. It’s time Shepherd had a change of luck with injuries restricting his appearances for the Force. When fully fit he’s a class fullback with a big boot. The sort of guy that would do well in Melbourne conditions. A safe defender and some speed on attack – he frequently seems to be in the right spot at the right time.

Notwithstanding those mentioned I’d also look at some Pacific island players, maybe former Australian residents like Josh Afu (Newcastle Falcons) or  Dan Leo (Wasps) or a few Fijian backs like Seru Rabeni or Sireli Bobo? And I’d probably plunder the Reds Academy as well?

Here is a list (not exhaustive) of where some of the better known Australian players are based:

Italy: Cam Treloar, Brendan Williams, Justin Purll, Michael Aldridge, Todd Ollivier, Mark Sweeney, Arthur Little, Peter-William Marrapodi, Christian Warner, Luke McLean

France: Ben Coutts, AJ Whalley, Sam Cordingley, Chris Siale, Fotunuupule Auelua, Luke Rooney, Manny Edmonds, Craig Gower, Troy Takiari, Junior Pelesasa, Paul Dearlove, Matt Jolley, Henri Veratau, Lachie MacKay

UK & Ireland: Peter Hewat, Chris Malone, Tim Donnelly, Julian Salvi, Liam Bibo, Clinton Schifcofske, Steve Kefu, Ben Jacobs, Daniel Roach, David Lyons, Greg Barden, Shaun Berne, Chris Whitaker, Chris Latham, Andrew Farley, Ben White, Tim Swinson, Matt Carraro, Sam Norton-Knight, Tamaiti Horua, Gareth Hardy, Dan Parks, Ed O’Donoghue, Tom Court

Japan: Shame Drahm, Radike Samo, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Jone Tawake, Dan Heenan, Tim Atkinson, Nathan Grey, Elia Tuqiri, Toutai Kefu, Hugh McMeniman, Mark Gerrard, James Hilgendorf, Stephen Larkham, George Gregan, Scott Staniforth, Tai McIsaac, Brett Stapleton, Joel Wilson, Damian McInally, Gene Fairbanks, Peter Miller, Josh Gamgee, Mark Gilbride, Craig Wing

NZ: David Te Moana, Tajhon Mailata, Olei Ovei

  • DPK

    Bringing back Mark Gasnier and Peter Hewat could be a great move for the Super 14 in general, theyre both class players. Surely a few thousand people would turn up or tune in to watch Gasnier and Luke Rooney play the other game?

    Brock James is a personal favorite of mine in the Top 14, he seems to have made a solid place in the flyhalf role.

    Before reading this list, i must admit i was pessimistic about a Melbourne based franchise, but if theyve got the money to get a team half sourced from the names on this list, it will be a more than decent team.

  • How about Rocky Elsom? He’d be my choice for captain… born and bred in Melbourne, and only signed a 1 year contract at the ponies, seemingly leaving the door open for 2011.

    I’d like to see Radike Samo back as well. His running with the ball in one hand always makes my highlights reel!

    • Lance Free

      Didn’t realise Rocky actually originated from Melbourne. Thought he came from NSW but had done some schooling in Queensland (Nudgee College). He might end up in Melbourne if Michael Cheika goes there?

      I think he’s likely to go back to Europe after the 2011 RWC.

    • Bobas

      Samo is an excitement machine… The answer to aussie rugbys problems.

  • Wagga Magpie

    Word from the Cooma traps is that Treloar is eligible for Italian residency soon so won’t jeopardise the chance to play for the Azzurri.

    Have to be the first ranga to play for the Italians…??

  • this team is going to have the biggest effect on the force long term. beingan hour or two away from family in melbourne is going to seem alot better than being five hours away for alot of new recruite from syd/bris.

    good list, there is deffinately enough people out there, but im sure they will want a couple of good current names, rocky and barnes are the ones that fit that bill.

    • Bobas


      Well the main problem I have with the Force draining Aussie rugby was they won against the Australian teams higher up on the ladder than they and lost to all the SA and NZ teams.

      Lets hope Melb does the opposite ie, let’s the better teams such as the brumbies get a bonus point win and beat the bulls and saders away.

  • Epi

    Rocky is most definitely from Melbourne and was down here last week for the Weary Dunlop lunch as the guest speaker talking about the new team so he could well be the first Melbourne captain.

    But here’s a name out of the blue and I know for a fact that he’s personally interested in the possibility…

    and one that would definately draw a crowd in Melbourne

    Israel Folau

    (you heard it on Green and Gold Rugby first)

    • Bobas

      Just on the topic of Folau…

      Do you reckon he’ll get in trouble like Tuqiri for testing out a 2nd, 3rd or 4th wife on tour.

      Or will it be okay cos he’s not from earth (mormon).

      • Patrick

        Definitely ok like you say. But I suspect he won’t join because his whanau is in Brisbane and he wouldn’t like touring either.

        But an easy replacement and one I was going to mention before I saw yours – Slater and Inglis!!!

        • Epi

          He actually prefers Melbourne.

          And mormons love touring.. thats what they do.. when they are not being polygamous.

  • Rocky Elboa

    Problem with Rocky is he has signed a two year deal with the Brumbies, so he wont be available from the beginning.
    Then we have Barnes? I don’t think its a coincidence that he is only signed to NSW for 1 year. He also clearly wants to be a captain. Horwill has Queensland and Waugh has the Tahs. Barnes captain of Melbourne?
    Also the Tahs have three good hookers in TPN, Fitapatrick and Freier, surely one of them will be making amove soon.

  • Rocky Elboa

    I can’t believe Gerrard and Hewitt are overseas when full back is one of our weakest positions. One of these guys needs to be in the mix especially if you want to have a kicking team.
    Umm also Lance I am also not sure our friends from the Republic of Ireland will like you lumping there teams in with the UK

    • Bobas

      they’re too slow, remember…

      But Berrick Barnes isn’t he’s future captain…

    • Lance Free

      It seems they haven’t Rocky – the nuances of the Easter Uprising are beyond me? I’ve fixed it for Paddy….

      I was surprised that Gerrardo shot through too after having such a top season. He must have been given the word.

      The media reporting on Barnes was that the one year deal was designed to see how the Reds situation played out in case he wanted to return. Although you’d think that if you have a successful and enjoyable season in a place you’d probably want to stay a bit longer?

  • GJD

    What ever happened to David Fitter? He made a tour then got the shaft from the Force. He may be another prospect.

    • Bobas

      I remember him and Lachie played will together…

    • Lance Free

      David Fitter retired a while back from professional rugby and returned to Melbourne. He’d played for London Irish. Plays a bit of local rugby down there now. I think he works at one of the uni’s as a boffin?

      PS As big as a house

  • CanadianRugby

    Wasn’t Tamati Horua a Melbourne guy? Back row with Rocky and Tamati? sounds like a good start to me. Also I’ve only seem him a couple of times, but Manny Edmonds looks good to me. Bring him. What about Matt Hodgson moving someplace where he can actually play 7? Probably a bit of a stretch, but what the hell, maybe they can talk him into it.

    Btw, no mention of David Nuciforia as coach? He seems to win everywhere he goes. I know he’s ARU high performance director, but maybe he want to coach again?

    Maybe Robbie Deans will get frustrated with the Wallabies and goes back to Super 14 (15).

    Thrilled about the idea of a Union team in Melbourne.

    • Eddo

      Deans had a strong thing for Melbourne when he was with the Crusaders… thats why they popped a few of the preseason games over that way. That could be a massive headline.

      • CanadianRugby

        wait, really? I was joking I had no idea he had any ties to Melbourne. Wow. Just drop some hints he might be there in a few years, that should help recruitment…

    • Lance Free

      Some good points CR. Horua is from Melbourne but he never really performed at that top level after showing some initial promise at the Brumbies. He is currently playing for Ulster A.

    • Cutter

      Manny Edmonds best days are behind him I think.

  • Any particular reason why you omitted Todd Louden from your list of potential coaches for the new franchise?

    Louden has the extraordinary record of having dramatically improved the performance of his team in every year he has coached.

    In 2004, as Director of Rugby at Sydney University, he implemented their EDS (Elite Development Squad) program which is still operating and is the foundation for their status as number one Club in Australia. In that year, Uni won the Sydney Club Championship with all nine grades contesting the finals.

    In the 2004-2005 season, he was Head Coach of Meiji University, which participates in Japan’s 120 team Collegiate Rugby Program. Louden took them from 68th to the top eight.

    In 2006, he returned to Sydney as Head Coach of Randwick. Their First XV advanced from ninth to Minor Premiers. They were narrowly beaten in the Grand Final by Sydney Uni, who were forced to make more than 300 tackles during the match.

    Louden was named Sydney Premiership Coach of the Year.

    The next season he moved to South Africa as attack coach with Heineke Meyer’s Blue Bulls, who went from fifth to winning the Super 14. They were the first South African team to win a Super title, with their success attributed to their new attacking style.

    In 2008, he was appointed attack coach of the NSW Waratahs under Ewen McKenzie. The ‘Tahs went from thirteenth in 2007 to second before being beaten in the Grand Final. The true story of why Louden was not appointed Head Coach after McKenzie was dumped remains to be told but the key word is treachery.

    In the 2008-2009 season he went back to Japan as Head Coach of the Ricoh Black Rams, who had been relegated to Second Division status. Under Louden’s guidance, Ricoh were undefeated in the Top East League and therefore qualified to play the winners of the other two second level leagues to determine who was to be promoted to the Top League.

    In the first of these matches, the Black Rams played Mazda Blue Zoomers, winners of the Top Kyushu League, winning by 81 to nil. They then beat Honda Heat from the Top West League 54 to 20.

    By winning both games Ricoh not only returned to Top League but also qualified for the All-Japan Rugby Football Championships, playing against Top League teams as well as the top two university teams.

    Ricoh were eventually beaten at the semi-final stage of the All-Japan Championships, meaning that they ranked in the top four in Japanese rugby.

    Todd Louden has thus achieved the extraordinary record that, in each of the past six years, the teams he coached were outstandingly successful and greatly improved their ranking. He is also the best development coach in Australian rugby and held in very high regard by quite a few of the Waratahs players who come off contract this year.

    • Agreed. The way he got dicked about by the Waratahs, someone dropped the ball big time… Would have been great.

    • Lance Free

      Gee Bruce, you’re sounding a little bit like his agent? His CV does look quite impressive though.

      I did consider him. There’s no doubting he’s a very good coach and someone with great potential. However, after the Reds disaster my criteria was someone who is currently (or had been) a head coach of a major franchise. He didn’t fit that criteria.

      I’m not sure why the Reds weren’t interested in him; maybe for that same reason but he’s probably better off where he is?

      Playing style was also an important factor especially now we’re going back to the old rules which suits the European style of play – hence coaches with European experience.

      I daresay Louden will get a guernsey either here or in Europe at some stage after his new contract with Ricoh expires.

      • “my criteria was someone who is currently (or had been) a head coach of a major franchise.”

        Why, Lance? And I’m sure you are right about the Reds. That was the old line in business: “No one gets sacked for choosing IBM.”

        So the same-old-same-olds keep going round and round from one disaster to another. Eventually they get so lazy or out of touch that they don’t even bother doing any coaching; they leave that to their assistants who are sometimes non-threatening Neville Nobodies and very occasionally agents of transformation like Louden.

        The experienced head coach is chosen for his expertise in fending off the media after yet another poor performance and keeping them off the backs of the clowns who appointed him.

        Bulls fifth to first; Waratahs thirteenth to second. How much more does the young bloke need to achieve before someone will take a chance on him? Or didn’t he have much to do with those successes?

        • Lance Free

          You’re right Bruce – renewal is a good thing. Just ask the Liberals at the moment?

          However, I’m not sure you could accuse Cheika, McGahan, Meehan and MacKenzie of being the ‘same old, same old’. These are guys who are at the top of their game coaching top of the range Premier Clubs in Europe – no easy feat. Additionally, MacKenzie was hardly a failure at the Waratahs if you look at his record (which you refer to above – 13th to 2nd) and there’s every chance he’ll be the new Reds coach (good luck to him).

          Louden is one of a group of ‘bright young things’ who’ll eventually get his chance. In fact, I guess there’s every possibility he’ll be a candidate for the Rebels coaching position next year as he’s only signed a one year extension with Ricoh – which you point out in your Roar story:

          You seem pretty convinced by his credentials:

          I agree with you – he’s up there alright. Hopefully he’ll be given an opportunity when the time is right and he can fulfill his undoubted potential.

          Perhaps I could make him my backs coach?

    • Bobas

      Todd Louden’s 2008-2009 season had nothing to do with the signing of Larkham into the Black Rams…

      • happy hooker

        Louden is the sort of guy that will bring good players to the club too, he has solid connections and Randwick and Uni as well as overseas. His credentials seem unmatched in my opinion and he also has a great record in the high school system where he coached at Waverley College (actually me in the 15A’s..) which could also give him the platform for developing guys from a young age through academy’s. The other alternative is trying to get Cheika and Louden if you could, backs/fwds, both ex Randwick, that would get some heads turning. I reckon Rocky would likely show up with a few other Randwick guys if one of them wouldn’t do it alone.

        Either of those two are key, and agreed that 2hrs away will end up undermining the Force. Lets go pilfer some leaguey’s and some good club rugby players..there are enough waiting for the opportunity.

  • Robson

    There are obviously a lot of players and coaches whom I have no knowledge of here but the two who lit up my eyes were Radike Samo and Rodney Blake.

    The latter, in my opinion, always had the raw material to be a top line tighthead, but he really didn’t get nurtured the way he should have been. If he had been playing in NZ he would have got some excellent mentoring from players and coaches alike. He might even have made the ABs after Carl Hayman left the scene because he has much more potential than Tialata.

    Rodzilla will be all the better for having played in France against some of the hardest front rowers in world rugby.

    Oz should put out feelers for him now, because He WILL go back to the land of his ancestors if he doesn’t think anyone else is interested. And remember Tonga upset a few bookie odds at the last world cup.

    • Lindommer

      Rodney can’t play for Tonga as he’s already played a few tests for Australia.

  • Conor

    I reckon Ben Luca should be on the cards aswell, or at least one of the reds scrum halves, and seeings how kingi’s gotten a run at wallabies selection, lucas may have gone down the list, but is someone who i rate.

    • Ben Lucas – Fly Half & Nic Berry – Scrum Half. These 2 guys have played in these positions together since Ipwswich Grammar days. Club rugby at Sunnybank Dragons (Bris) until they split up. Ben is more suited to Fly Half tham Scrum Half, it allows his natural abilities more scope than being behind 8 backsides. Nic has returned to his cheeky days of old, playing at Racing Metro 92 (Paris-France) (This was stifled under the regime of Eddie Jones when coach for Reds) darting out from the back of the scrum scoring tries, kick and chase, box kicks and those long, low spiral passes that can get a ball across the field fast. I really miss seeing these 2 guys playing together. BRING ‘EM BACK

      • Lance Free

        Ben Lucas didn’t go to Ipswich Grammar. He went to Gregory Terrace. It was Berrick Barnes who you’re thinking of at schoolboy level – they played together at Ippy for a time.

        I agree with your sentiments though. Lucas is a natural flyhalf and Berry has been delivering for Racing. Have you seen him on Eurosport Top 14?


          Thanks Lance, I got all excited when I saw your comments on Ben. I am really looking forward in seeing how Ben progresses through the year at the Reds, now that Berrick has left us, it should give him more opportunities playing in the flyhalf position. I haven’t had the opportunity watching Nic play on Eurosport, I rely on the different web sites that are dedicated to French rugby.

  • I thought the plan was to top it up with discards from New Zuld and other Pacific Islands?

    BTW, Rebels is a pretty gay name. Not quite as gay the Force or that team named after a flower; but gay nonetheless.

    • Lance Free

      Leg Break – initially there was talk about that but I think the Kiwis have now been replaced by the Argies? Although it sounds as though there might be a chance down the track that any SANZAR player could be recruited by any Super 15 team.

      The main thrust of the post is to point out that there is a bit of depth about in Oz rugby if we care to look a bit further afield.

      • Patrick

        Yay for replacing Kiwis with Argies ;)

    • Bobas

      Is the Force mascot Luke Skywalker?

      Maybe he should have a dual with vader before every home game.

      And as for the Tah’s its not a bad name considering its a pretty impressive flower. Better than the Cherry Blossums or the Cheifs anyway.

  • CanadianRugby

    Is Rebels already the name they have decided on? I think its a terrible name. Seriously. Its just a generic piece of crap. Find a better name. Something more in line with other Australian names/mascots. like Waratahs (small flower), Reds (using a Koala mascot), Brumbies (Small angry horse) or Force (With a swam logo). Might I just something like Baby Crows. Or the Haddock. The Rose buds maybe? that would be unique.

    Or something closer to Melbourne…the Trams? The Footy players?

    Just some thoughts….

    • Bobas

      The Melbourne Sinks.

      Who cause player drain…

  • Lance Free

    I see Steve Meehan has just signed a two year contract extension today with Bath to take him up to 2012. That may, on the face of it, take him out of the running to be a candidate for the Rebel’s job.

  • mudskipper

    the Melbourne Ducks

  • Ed

    Glad you put that list up Lance, cause I had no idea how many players we had overseas.

    I counted 76 players there. I reckon you should email that list to the ARU lance, cause I have a feeling they haven’t the slightest clue about how many aus players are actually overseas.

    You would of thought that a statistic like that would of featured in the papers or a press release by now. Yet all I’ve read about is the Saffas claiming how we don’t have the depth to support an extra team like they do. I read this the other day

    ‘Marinos also dismissed fears that the franchise might be uncompetitive on the field.

    “There are 74 South Africans playing in the French Top 14 and English Premiership compared to 20 Australians, and plenty more where they came from looking for the opportunity of top flight rugby,” said Marinos. ‘

    seems we have a couple more players than they reckon

  • Ben

    There are a couple of young aussie guys playing with Radike Samo and Scott Staniforth in japan. Both Aust schoolboys. Matt Brandon (10) and Pauliasi Taumoepeau (8). Pauli younger brother plays for the brumbies. Both worth a look at for the new team

  • Ben

    There are a couple of young aussie guys playing with Radike Samo and Scott Staniforth in japan. Both Aust schoolboys. Matt Brandon (10) and Pauliasi Taumoepeau (8). Pauli’s younger brother plays for the brumbies. Both worth a look at for the new team

  • Ralph

    You need to look at players off contract. If Rocky signed a 1 yr there is your captain, if not Pocock who is off contract at the end of 2010. You need a 10 and Quade Cooper would be a great signing. Bring back Mark Gerrard who finishes with NTT around febuary 2011. Not a bad start

  • Monnas

    You all forgot one coach possibility.


  • Lance Free

    Mmmm, interesting possibility if Macqueen wanted to make a comeback. I’d expect maybe more likely as Chief Executive?

    I see JO’N has just formally announced that Melbourne will be permitted to sign up to 10 foreign players in their first few Super 15 seasons. Now the speculation will really begin….

  • Juan Cote

    Announcement in relation to the Melbourne franchise tomorrow morning at ARU HQ with JO’N and Matt Carroll present.

    Me thinks the private equity model is dead and the ARU will go it alone…

    Stay tuned to G&GR for the latest

  • Monnas

    No way. Private equity is the strategic winner..

  • Monnas

    Stirling Mortlock

  • Ruby Tuesday

    Well now that the private equity firm is in, it will be interesting to see who they get as coach. I am leaning towards Cheika, but I guess it would depend on the execs that they bring in.

    Player-wise: I think they need to look at some of the guys that have played Super 14 rugby already and look to them for some experience. No 10 might be interesting as Christian Leliifano is originally from Melbourne. As Matt Toomua will most likely be the back up for Gits this season, Christian may find it tough going in the centres. Gene Fairbanks would be a good catch provided he stays injury free. Nic Henderson grew up not far from Melbourne and played for the Storm, and he might think about coming back to the East Coast.
    Staniforth and Norton-Knight will also be big catches.

    One person that wasn’t mentioned that is playing in Italy (unless I completed missed his name) is Beau Robinson. Unlucky to be cut from the Waratahs, I think he would be a perfect fit for the Rebels.

  • weetam

    I live in and support Bath Rugby. We have this fantastic coach Steve Meehan, a world beater no7 Jules Salvi and a tank at 13 in Matt Carrero. These guys are superstars and we would desparately like them to stay as they are our future. So hands off the rebels we say. Why not poach a few league stars who want to stay in Oz!!!

    • Lance Free

      Salvi would be a good acquisition but I’d be more interested in David Wilson, Olly Barkley or Nick Abendanon actually. Meehan’s a guy I would have looked at as Head Coach, but hasn’t he just signed another contract with Bath?

  • Qballbokboy

    does anyone know when the rebels memberships go on sale.

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