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Rebels Sign Capped International Monty Ioane



Monty Ioane is coming home.

After nine years playing overseas, the Melbourne Rebels are excited to unveil Ioane as the Club’s latest signing for the upcoming Super Rugby Pacific season, with Ioane committing to the Rebels until at least the end of the 2023 season.

The acquisition of the capped international who has made 14 appearances for Italy, will bolster the Rebels stocks on the wing with his explosive pace set to ignite the AAMI Park faithful.

After plying his trade as a junior at the Endeavour Hills Rugby Club, Ioane made his professional debut at just eighteen-years-old for Paris side, Stade Français in the Top 14.

Following a pair of eye-catching campaigns in the Mitre 10 Cup, Ioane signed with Italian side Benetton, where he played 81 matches over six seasons.

After being named in the PRO14 Dream Team for two straight campaigns (2018-2019 and 2019-2020), Ioane would win selection for the Italian national team, debuting in the Autumn Nations Cup Final against Wales.

Ioane says returning to where his career first began was a dream come true.

“Growing up in a strong rugby family, Melbourne was where my love for the game first began”, said Ioane.

“It’s honestly a dream to return back home and represent my city at the highest level now. I never thought the opportunity would arise but here I am today and it’s one of the most exciting moments of my playing career. I can’t wait for the opportunity to push my case and run out onto AAMI Park wearing a Rebels jersey.”

“Looking back on my time in juniors, I’ve had some great memories playing for Endeavour Hills, especially from under-12’s when I was captain and we ended up winning the grand final against Northcote.

“When I started my junior rugby here, it was tough, but looking forward to where Melbourne has come with rugby now and the pathways available, it’s honestly incredible.

“Having homegrown players playing for the Rebels is special and as a Victorian, I have great pride seeing the opportunities created for the kids, that next generation, and giving them something to dream of and pursue.”

Melbourne Rebels GM of Rugby, Nick Stiles, said the Club was thrilled to bring home another proud Victorian.

“It’s great to have such a quality talent and person like Monty join the Melbourne Rebels,” said Stiles.

“After growing up playing in the Victorian rugby community, it’s been fantastic to see Monty’s pride in the growth of rugby in our state and the opportunities that are now available for young, hungry, and talented Victorian players.

“Monty will obviously be a valuable addition on the field, but off it, he’ll bring great value mentoring our next generation of Victorian Rebels and showing them what it takes to develop into a successful Test player.

“It’s a really exciting time for Victorian rugby. We’ve just had the senior and junior grand finals, Melbourne’s hosting a Bledisloe match for the first time since 2010 with five Rebels pushing for selection and next week, we’ll be hosting the inaugural Victorian Cup Series which will see our state’s best Club players receiving the opportunity to test themselves against Super Rugby competition and compete for a spot on the Rebels tour of Japan.”

Catch Monty Ioane’s first game in Melbourne Rebels colours on Friday September 23, when the Melbourne Rebels host the inaugural Victorian Club Series at Power House Junior Rugby Club. With five games and free entry, it promises to be a memorable day of Victorian Rugby. 

Content & Images from – Melbourne Rebels Rugby

Super Rugby

Former English International to join the Highlanders



English first-five Freddie Burns will join the Highlanders for the 2023 edition of DHL Super Rugby Pacific. Burns, currently playing for Leicester Tigers in the English Premiership has agreed terms with the Highlanders, and with the support of Leicester, will land in New Zealand prior to the first round.

The 32-year-old Burns will bring with him a wealth of experience having started his first-class career with Gloucester back in 2010. His first turn at Leicester was between 2014-2017 before three seasons with Bath and Burns has over 200 appearances in the Premiership to his name. In 2021 he had a short sojourn in Japan before returning to Leicester for the 2022 season.

A former England U20 representative he represented the senior side five times most notably debuting against the All Blacks in 2012, replacing Owen Farrell, in their 38-21 victory.

A prolific goal kicker and tactically sound first-five, who can also play fullback, he was the toast of Leicester when he dropkicked the winning goal for the Tigers against Saracens in the 2022 Gallagher Premiership final.

Burns is looking forward to the experience.

“As a young lad I grew up watching Super rugby in the early hours of morning. To have the opportunity to represent such a prestigious club as the Highlanders in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season is a huge honour. I look forward to getting started and adding to the group both on and off the field”

Highlanders Head Coach Clarke Dermody has welcomed the arrival of the experienced playmaker.

“Having a player of Freddie’s calibre available to us in such a crucial position is a real boost for the squad. Last year we were exposed at 10 due to a run of injuries and while we covered the situation, we were asking a lot of Sam Gilbert and Vili Koroi who are not regular starting first-fives. Freddie’s arrival will provide us with that extra insurance against that scenario playing out again in 2023”.

Burns will be the second international back to be added to Dermody’s 2023 squad with Argentinian outside back Martin Bogado also set to play in Highlanders colours.



Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby

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Super Rugby




The Blues, alongside Mahurangi Rugby Club have made the decision to move their pre-season event – Blues Fest ’23 – away from Mahurangi Rugby Club due to the condition of the field.

The recent bad weather around the Blues region has meant ground staff haven’t been able to work on the field and after a check last week the tough decision was made to move the two games and nib Blues open training session to a new venue.

A final decision on a new location for Blues Fest ’23 is yet to be made.

Blues CEO, Andrew Hore, said the club were gutted to make the tough call.

“As a club we were getting excited to head north for the pre-season,” said Hore.

“Unfortunately, the weather has conspired against us in recent weeks and when we met with Mahurangi Rugby Club on Friday, both parties agreed the field hadn’t responded how we would’ve hoped, and the call was made to move the event.”

Mahurangi Council of Clubs Delegate, Sam Ryburn, said the club were taking a philosophical view over the change.

“We were very much looking forward to hosting the Blues at Mahurangi for Blues Fest ’23,” said Ryburn.

“There’s not a lot we can do, both The Blues and our club explored all the options before coming to this decision, but we’re hoping to continue our relationship with the Blues and look at future options for hosting pre-season matches.”

The Blues still intend to host the entire Blues Fest ’23 programme including a ‘Game of Three Halves’ between North Harbour, Northland and Auckland development players, a nib Blues women open training session and the Blues men vs Hurricanes pre-season match.

A decision on where this will be held will be communicated in the coming days.

Content & Images from – Blues Rugby

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Richie Mo’unga to depart Crusaders after 2023



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Mo’unga debuted for the Crusaders on 27 February 2016, facing the Chiefs at home and scoring 13 points. He made the starting line-up for the rest of the season.


“This team has given so much to me as a rugby player and as a person, and in return I’ve always wanted to give my everything to the team both on and off the field, to help us succeed, and to be the best environment for players,” Mo’unga said.


Asked about his star first-five’s departure after the 2023 season, Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson said Mo’unga was “a special man”.


“If there’s one player that continues to leave their mark on this team, that’d be Richie Mo’unga,” Robertson said.


“Through his performances in the biggest games, the biggest moments – he stood up, which Crusaders do. He’s a special man, a local boy, pride of the community, and there’s no doubt about it – Richie can play.


“When Richie is on, the team is on. He brings out the best from all the players. For me, he is one of the most influential Super Rugby players ever – how he plays the game, his ability to score points consistently year after year in those crucial moments.


“The biggest thing for me with Richie is how much he cares about the team and the club, about the players he plays with and the people he plays for. He means a lot to the Crusaders and we wish him all the best. There’ll be a time to properly say goodbye to him at the end of the season, but for now we’re all focused on the job in front of us.”


Richie Mo’unga and the Crusaders kick off their 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season against the Chiefs on 24 February at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch. Memberships are available now.

Content & Images from – Crusaders Rugby

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