The RaboDirect Rebels’ squad for 2013 is almost complete with nine new faces joining the club, plus five new recruits in the Extended Playing Squad (EPS), and a further spot yet to be filled as the club enters its third season in the Super Rugby competition.
With the departure of players such as Stirling Mortlock, Al Campbell, Mark Gerrard and Adam Freier, there has been a clear adjustment in age, which brings a great opportunity to many new faces to build on the strong foundations that they have left behind.
“We planned from the outset to recruit experienced players in our start up seasons to assist with the development of a strong culture and playing style,” said Head Coach Damien Hill.
“The involvement of these foundation players will continue in other ways; Sam Cordingley has stayed with the organisation in a recruitment capacity and Stirling Mortlock will play a part in our coaching structure next season.”
Headlining the new arrivals is current Wallaby and 2012 ARU Super Rugby Player of the Year runner-up Scott Higginbotham who joins the club from the Queensland Reds. His athleticism and aggression will complement high-class back-row options for Hill such as current captain Gareth Delve and Jarrod Saffy.
“Scott is an important recruit for the organisation as we step up for 2013,” said Hill.
“We are building an exciting, well balanced squad with the likes of current Wallabies James O’Connor, Kurtley Beale, Scott Higginbotham, Cooper Vuna and Nick Phipps, and several other players including Luke Jones, Hugh Pyle, Caderyn Neville, Mitch Inman, Laurie Weeks, Richard Kingi and Jarrod Saffy who we also expect to push for Wallaby selection.
“There are also several young players, such as Nic Stirzacker and Angus Roberts, who are to impress next season.
“The exciting thing is that there is still one final spot available. We have a few options that are more than capable of playing Super Rugby, but it will come down to who wants it more.”
Twenty-two year old Alex Rokobaro joins the club having spent the past 12 months in France with Stade Francais. The versatile outside back will be familiar to the club’s supporters having been part of the Rebel Rising program in 2011.
Rory Sidey is another player with great versatility who will become a RaboDirect Rebel next season. At only 26, the experienced Sidey has had a taste of European Rugby with Newport-Gwent Dragons, and has spent the last three seasons in Super Rugby with the NSW Waratahs and Western Force, collecting 30 caps.
Ryan Tyrrell will join Sidey at the Rebels in 2013. The hulking 112kg hooker will provide competition for the number two jersey with incumbent Ged Robinson after the losses of Freier, Luke Holmes and Heath Tessmann at the end of last season.
Wallaby squad members Hugh Pyle and Cadeyrn Neville, and powerful young lock Luke Jones have been joined in the second-row by experienced line-out specialist Chris Thomson. Standing at an imposing 204cm Thomson will be the tallest Australian player in Super Rugby, and he is keen to prove himself in the competition once again after spending the past two seasons with Narbonne in France.
After some eye catching displays in the NSW Shute Shield competition, 22-year old fullback Angus Roberts has earnt an opportunity in Super Rugby. The exciting and versatile back demonstrated great composure with Sydney University this season at both flyhalf and fullback.
Excitement machine and former Brumby Kimami Situati joins the club having represented Queensland and Australian Schoolboys teams in his junior days, as well as winning a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the Australian 7’s team along with current Rebels halfback Nick Phipps.
After a fantastic Junior Rugby World Cup in 2010 where his New Zealand team went through undefeated, Jason Woodward joins the Rebels having spent time with the Wellington Lions in the ITM Cup competition. He can cover a number of positions including fullback, wing and flyhalf.
Scott Fuglistaller joins the club from the Wellington Hurricanes. The openside flanker graduated to their full-time squad in 2012 from the Wider Training Group.
2013 Rebels Memberships go on sale today, with priority tickets for The British & Irish Lions to members who join prior to October 31.
2013 RABODIRECT REBELS SQUAD
1. Eddie Aholelei
2. Paul Alo-Emile
3. Kurtley Beale
4. Tim Davidson
5. Gareth Delve
6. Scott Fuglistaller
7. Nic Henderson
8. Scott Higginbotham
9. Mitch Inman
10. Luke Jones
11. James King
12. Richard Kingi
13. Lachlan Mitchell
14. Cadeyrn Neville
15. James O’Connor
16. Nick Phipps
17. Hugh Pyle
18. Angus Roberts
19. Ged Robinson
20. Alex Rokobaro
21. Jarrod Saffy
22. Rory Sidey
23. Kimami Sitauti
24. Nic Stirzaker
25. Chris Thomson
26. Ryan Tyrrell
27. Cooper Vuna
28. Laurie Weeks
29. Jason Woodward
RABODIRECT REBELS EXTENDED PLAYING SQUAD (EPS)
31. Trent Dyer
32. Tom English
33. Bryce Hegarty
34. Patrick Leafa
35. Jordy Reid
Scott Fuglistaller - Otago Highlanders
Scott Higginbotham - Queensland Reds
Angus Roberts - Sydney University
Alex Rokobaro - Stade Francais
Rory Sidey – Western Force
Kimami Sitauti - ACT Brumbies
Chris Thomson - Narbonne
Ryan Tyrrell - Cardiff Blues
Jason Woodward – Wellington Lions
Trent Dyer (EPS) - Sydney University
Tom English (EPS) - Sydney University
Bryce Hegarty (EPS) - Brisbane Broncos
Patrick Leafa (EPS) - Canberra Vikings
Jordy Reid (EPS) - Manly Marlins
Rodney Blake - TBC
Adam Byrnes - Russia
Alister Campbell - Retired
Danny Cipriani - Sale Sharks
Tom Chamberlain – TBC
Adam Freier - Retired
Mark Gerrard – Toyota Shokki
James Hilgendorf - TBC
Julian Huxley - Narbonne Racing Club
Lloyd Johansson - TBC
Michael Lipman - Retired
Stirling Mortlock - Retired
Heath Tessmann - TBC