Genia, Cooper swap Rebels for Japanese club
Cape Town - Melbourne Rebels halfbacks Will Genia and Quade Cooper have
joined the exodus from Australian rugby after signing deals with
Japanese club Kintetsu Liners.
The veteran Wallabies duo will join Kintetsu Liners after the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.
According to a report on Rugby Australia’s official website, it has
been heavily speculated in recent weeks that the pair would be making
the move to the Liners for next season.
Both posted cryptic images about their futures in the wake of the
Super Rugby season, but had made not formal indications about their 2020
The Rebels were believed to be keen to keep both players for 2020, considering them to be valuable leaders in the group.
The Liners, coached by former Reds mentor Nick Stiles, currently play
in the Japanese Challenge League, which is the second domestic Japanese
Japan’s Top League has a promotion-relegation system and the Kintetsu
side will be looking to push its way back into the top echelon in the
The Liners announced their new additions on their website on Thursday with translated quotes from both players.
The next Japanese domestic season kicks off in January 2020, delayed because of the World Cup.
Genia said in the announcement that he was looking forward to linking up with the team.
“I am very much looking forward to joining Kintetsu Liners,” he said.
“I want to play right away as part of a team with a long history and
tradition. I am looking forward to meeting Japanese people and getting
in touch with Japanese culture.
“My goal is to do my best for the club and to help Kintetsu Liners
become the best rugby team in Japan through my own play. It is a great
honour to be able to contribute to this team.”
Cooper said he wanted to try and help the team return to the Japanese Top League once more.
“I am very much looking forward to joining the historic team, Kintetsu Liners,” he said.
I am confident that I can contribute at Kintetsu Liners through my career.
“I will work hard to develop my team and team-mates, and I will firmly
incorporate them to achieve the goal of returning to the top league,
which is the club goal.
“In addition, I will do my best to be able to play an active part with the whole team on the stage of the top league.
The Rebels recently signed Fiji scrumhalf Frank Lomani in what
appeared to be a replacement for Genia while Matt To’omua would most
likely take Cooper’s regular flyhalf spot, with the Wallaby playmaker
signed on through to 2020.
Neither Rugby Australia nor the Rebels have confirmed the news.