Japan's Mafi re-signing boosts Rebels

    2017-08-09 09:50

    Melbourne - Highly rated Japanese international Amanaki Mafi has opted to stay with the Melbourne Rebels for next season, the club said on Wednesday, in an apparent boost for the Super Rugby franchise which is threatened with closure.

    The powerful back-row forward, who is in the running as Australia's Super Rugby player of the year, agreed to a one-year extension to remain with the Rebels for a second season.

    Either the Melbourne Rebels or the Perth-based Western Force are facing the axe after Australia announced plans to cut one of its teams from Super Rugby, which is shrinking from 18 to 15 sides next year.

    Mafi's re-signing follows last week's announcement that the Victorian Rugby Union has assumed control of the Rebels' licence, in a move aimed at securing the club's future.

    Mafi, 27, had an outstanding debut season for the Rebels and proved one of the best forwards among the five Australian teams.

    "We're thrilled that fan favourite Amanaki has chosen to remain with the Rebels in Melbourne for another year after a standout first Super Rugby season generated plenty of interest," Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said.

    "Amanaki was the most dominant forward in the Australian conference and quickly established himself as a highly respected member of the Rebels squad with his consistent hard running and physical presence in the back row."

    Mafi has represented Japan on 16 occasions, including in the three-Test series against Romania and Ireland in June.

    "It was an easy decision to re-sign with the Rebels, since I've arrived everyone has made me feel welcome," Mafi said.

    "I'm looking forward to next year because there is more I want to achieve with the club and we've got some great young players so I think the Rebels will have a great season."

    Read More On:  rebels super rugby rugby

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights


    Friday, 15 February 2019
    • Chiefs v Highlanders, FMG Stadium Waikato 08:35
    • Brumbies v Rebels, GIO Stadium 10:45
    Saturday, 16 February 2019
    • Blues v Crusaders, Eden Park 08:35
    • Waratahs v Hurricanes, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Sunwolves v Sharks, Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium 12:55
    • Bulls v Stormers, Loftus Versfeld 17:15
    • Jaguares v Lions, Estadio Jose Amalfitani 23:40
    Friday, 22 February 2019
    • Highlanders v Reds, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:35


    No results are available


    Rank Team P W Pts
    • Bulls (Q)
    • Jaguares (wc)
    • Lions
    • Sharks
    • Stormers

    Opinion Poll

    Who will win the 2018 Rugby Championships?

    Can you name the top Super Rugby tryscorers of all-time?

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.