Former Sharks lock Gideon Koegelenberg was a surprise inclusion as the Melbourne Rebels unveiled their squad for the 2020 Vodacom Super Rugby season.
The Rebels named their squad for next season on Friday, entering a new era with experienced halfback pair Will Genia and Quade Cooper leaving for Japan.
In total, there are 14 new faces in the squad, including Koegelenburg, whose contract with the Sharks was set to expire at the end of 2019.
The 24-year-old lock is set for his second stint overseas after spending two seasons with Italian side Zebre.
Koeglenberg returned to the Sharks in 2017, but struggled for regular game time in 2019, playing just six of their 17 Super Rugby games last season.
Also included in the Rebels squad for the first time is South African-born former prop Ruan Smith, who has left the Reds where he played alongside twin brother JP.
To cover the gap left by Genia’s departure, the Rebels have signed Fijian scrumhalf Frank Lomani, who played three games for his country at the 2019 World Cup in Japan. Wallabies playmaker Matt To’omua will play in his first full Super Rugby season since joining from the Leicester Tigers this year.
‘At scrumhalf, we have three new guys who will be scrapping it out in James Tuttle, Frank Lomani and Ryan Louwrens,’ Rebels attack coach Shaun Berne said. ‘Frank is an international and is really developing as a player, whilst James and Ryan have great qualities and Super Rugby experience. We don’t know yet who the frontrunner is, which is exciting. It all boils down to how hard they want to compete for that spot in pre-season.
‘Beyond that, we’re very fortunate to have some sensational backline talent with Matt To’omua looking set to play his first full season with us, joining Marika, Dane and Reece in returning from the World Cup.’
Rebels 2019 Super Rugby squad:
Jermaine Ainsley, Angus Cottrell, Andrew Deegan, Cabous Eloff, Tom English, Mees Erasmus, Pone Fa’amausili, Matt Gibbon, Esei Haangana, Richard Hardwick, Ross Haylett-Petty, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Trevor Hosea, Luke Jones, Andrew Kellaway, Josh Kemeny, Boyd Killingworth, Gideon Koegelenberg, Marika Koroibete, Rob Leota, Frank Lomani, Ryan Louwrens, Jack Maddocks, Campbell Magnay, Billy Meakes, Declan Moore, Isi Naisarani, Cameron Orr, Matt Philip, Harry Potter, Anaru Rangi, Fereti Sa’aga, Ruan Smith, Matt To’omua, Semisi Tupou, James Tuttle, Jordan Uelese, Michael Wells, Brad Wilkin.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images