Melbourne Rebels

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees Another Cheika Fit Camp, Petaia injured again, All Blacks RWC Squad and New signings at the Rebels.




Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

If Michael Cheika fails to pick up a coaching contract next year, he appears to have enough of a test reel to kick start his own version of The Biggest Loser as photos began to emerge of the Wallabies training camp in Noumea.

The Wallabies moved operations to Noumea to get away from external pressures, to acclimatise themselves to Japanese weather, and run stairs with weights.

Wallabies loose forward Jack Dempsey gave FOXSPORTS the inside look at the training schedule for the Wallabies during the 10-day camp.

“We’re up at the crack of dawn, 5.30, going straight into individual work-ons in training,” Dempsey said.

“Then refuelling and getting ready for our big morning session on the field.

“We’re getting the k’s up there and the boys are really making some big gains while we have the time.

“And then we finish with a gym session, the local gym here next to the field and that’ll be a two day cycle.

“Then we’ll have a day off on the third day, a heavy recovery day for the morning and then rinse-repeating.

“It’s a bit hotter, more humid than back home at the moment and looking forward to Japan, trying to mirror the environment that we’re walking into there.

“You feel it at training but you know you’re working for a good cause.

“It’s right up there, the intensity, very Michael Cheika like and that’s something I’ve been around since the start of my professional career.

“The times we’re getting up in the morning and the times we’re getting to bed, there’s a lot of hours that we’re putting into this, a lot of effort.

“A World Cup gives you a boost when you’re sucking in the big ones.”

Considering the last Michael Cheika led fit camp resulted in four players suffering the same soft tissue injuries, and with some players returning from injury, Wallaby fans will be hoping that the more educated minds prevail when it comes to player loading and training, rather than a bullish Remember the Titans style of coaching.


Jordan Petaia

Jordan Petaia

World Cup bolted Jordan Petaia has had another injury set back, ruling him out of contention for the match against Samoa.

Petaia tweaked his hamstring diving for a tackle during the Wallabies training camp in Noumea.

He was on the first flight back to Sydney on Wednesday morning to get scans and start his treatment in an effort to make sure he is ready for the World Cup.

Petaia has had a luckless run with injuries, with a hamstring injury setting his debut against Italy back last year, whilst a lisfranc foot injury ruled him out for the large majority of the Super Rugby season.

Though he will miss the match against Samoa, officials are still claiming he will be right for the World Cup.

Despite his minimal rugby over the past 12 months, former Wallaby Rod Kafer believes Petaia is the best option on the right wing for the Wallabies.

“I first saw him at a training session for the Australian under-20s about 18 months ago and he’s one of those players who instantly stands out when you see him,” said Kafer, a member of the world champion 1999 team who observed Petaia while working for Rugby Australia.

“Just on the training pitch you know he’s very good.

“There aren’t too many bolters in the squad but Jordan Petaia is the obvious one.

“It is an area, our outside backs, where we don’t have a great amount of pace and he could add that, particularly on the right wing.

“Reece Hodge has been playing there in the last couple of Tests and maybe there’s an opportunity for Jordan Petaia to slot straight into that right wing position.

“I think he could do very well there.”


Photo Courtesy of Keith McInnes

Photo Courtesy of Keith McInnes

The All Blacks named their Rugby World Cup Squad on Wednesday with a few notable omissions from the squad.

Perhaps the biggest is Ngani Laumape being over looked despite his form during the Super Rugby season, in favour of Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown and Sonny Bill Williams in the midfield.

Another notable omission was 108 capped Owen Franks, who despite inconsistent form was expected to be picked in the squad.

Liam Squire was over looked despite reports he had made himself available, after he withdrew from the Rugby Championship.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said selection decisions were certainly not easy.

“As always, we’d also like to take a moment to respect the effort and disappointment of those who’ve missed out,” he said in a statement.

“It’s a tough time in anyone’s career. The selectors wanted to point out that it wasn’t a case of anyone not being good enough to be selected, but more the fact that we can only take 31, so there was always go to be some very talented athletes that would miss out.

“Having said that, as we know from previous Rugby World Cups and other campaigns, we may have injuries so those players who missed out may get an opportunity.”

Despite not holding the No.1 spot anymore, Hansen knows that Kiwis have a target on their backs as heavy favourites to win the cup for a third time in a row.

“Yes, it will come with massive expectation and therefore pressure,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to tackling that pressure head on and enjoying everything that comes with it.

“We know it’ll be tough and that we’ll need to earn the right, every time we play, to continue throughout the tournament.

“However, that’s exciting and knowing we’ve faced that pressure before gives us confidence.  There are no guarantees in sport.  However, with talent, hard work and mental fortitude, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

New Zealand World Cup squad



Dane Coles (32, Hurricanes / Wellington, 64)

Liam Coltman (29, Highlanders / Otago, 5)

Codie Taylor (28, Crusaders / Canterbury, 44)


Nepo Laulala (27, Chiefs / Counties Manukau, 19)

Joe Moody (30, Crusaders /Canterbury, 40)

Atu Moli (24, Chiefs / Tasman, 2)

Angus Ta’avao (29, Chiefs / Taranaki, 7)

Ofa Tuungafasi (27, Blues / Auckland, 29)


Scott Barrett (25, Crusaders / Taranaki, 30)

Brodie Retallick (28, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 77)

Patrick Tuipulotu (26, Blues / Auckland, 24)

Samuel Whitelock (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 111)

Loose forwards

Sam Cane (27, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 63)

Luke Jacobson (22, Chiefs / Waikato, 1)

Kieran Read (33, Crusaders / Counties Manukau, 121) – Captain

Ardie Savea (25, Hurricanes / Wellington, 38)

Matt Todd (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 20)



TJ Perenara (27, Hurricanes / Wellington, 58)

Aaron Smith (30, Highlanders / Manawatu, 86)

Brad Weber (28, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 2)


Beauden Barrett (28, Blues / Taranaki, 77)

Richie Mo’unga (25, Crusaders / Canterbury, 12)


Ryan Crotty (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 44)

Jack Goodhue (24, Crusaders / Northland, 9)

Anton Lienert-Brown (24, Chiefs / Waikato, 37)

Sonny Bill Williams (33, Blues / Counties Manukau, 53)

Outside backs

Jordie Barrett (22, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 11)

George Bridge (24, Crusaders / Canterbury, 4)

Rieko Ioane (22, Blues / Auckland, 26)

Sevu Reece (22, Crusaders / Waikato, 2)

Ben Smith (33, Highlanders /Otago, 79)



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You’re a Rebel Harry! #HarryPotter is coming to Melbourne for 2020 ‍♂️

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Sydney Uni outside back Harry Potter has signed a Super Rugby contract with the Melbourne Rebels, and sharing a name with one of the most famous fictitious characters in the world has lead to the internet having a lot of fun. 

Or as one Rebels and Harry Potter fan put it “(It’s) going to be a long year,” After he was tagged in his third meme in two days

Potter insists he’s used to all the jokes, being born in England would mean there’s plenty of them, though if FOXSPORTS Rugby is anything to go off he might be in for a shock.

“But it’s nothing I haven’t heard before so it’s easy to laugh it off,” Potter said.

“I’ve seen all the movies but haven’t read any of the books, which is quite disappointing for a lot of people because they make jokes I don’t understand.”

Potter was a sensation for Sydney Uni, with the winger leading the competition for total defenders beaten (117), made more clean line breaks (45) and total metres (1446), which was more than any other player for the year.

“My time in Sydney has been great for my rugby development but Melbourne is home.  The Rebels have always been my team growing up, and now I want to contribute to the future of the club and take my rugby to another level.” Potter said.

“I couldn’t be happier to be returning to Melbourne,

“My first representative honours came with an underage Victorian state team, so to now get the chance to return to Melbourne and to work hard for the opportunity to play at the Stockade makes my journey feel like it has come full circle.”

He was a former Brighton Grammar and Moorabbin Rams star before he moved north to study and play Shute Shield rugby.

Rebels GM Nick Ryan was pleased another Victorian could join the growing list of Victorian players in the Rebels squad,

“Harry was always spoken of highly by our pathway coaches here in Victoria when he was coming through the youth programs,” Ryan said.

“We are genuine in wanting to build a local pathway and it’s always pleasing when a player chooses to come back to Melbourne to pursue their rugby ambition. It’s only by building a world class program that you can capture the best talent.’

“Along with guys like Jordan Uelese, Rob Leota, Trevor Hosea, Pone Fa’amausili and Fereti Sa’aga, we’re beginning to really show that there are opportunities here for young and hungry Victorian players. The NRC is a big stage for other prospects to show us if they are ready for the leap to Super Rugby.’

“Harry will be surrounded by experienced and talented outside backs and we are committed to taking his game to another level.”

The Rebels also announced the signing of former Aussie Sevens player Boyd Killingworth, who has been playing XVs for Warringah and is coming off a loss to Potters Sydney Uni.

“It’s not just getting back to fifteens, I’m super excited to be joining a Rebels squad with so much talent,” he said.

“I’ve always thought the Rebels are a Club with huge potential and I want to play whatever role I can in making that a reality.

“The competition for back row spots will be immense, but it’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to and I know that’s the kind of environment that will get the best out of me.”

Nick Ryan, impressed with Killingworths professionalism said he was someone on the Rebels radar for quite some time.

“From his time in the Sevens program, we know that Boyd has a great physical capacity but it was his competitiveness that caught our eye,” he said.

“Although he will be coming into a Super Rugby environment as an uncapped rookie, he has been a professional player for around five years, so he really leads the way in terms of his professionalism and work ethic.”



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