Cape Town - The
Melbourne Rebels have bulked up their front row stocks ahead of the
2018 season with the addition of props Sam Talakai and Jermaine Ainsley.
The promising pair will be a further boost to the Rebels pack,
complementing the recent signings of forwards Tetera Faulkner, Ben Daley
and re-signing of fan favourite back-rower Amanaki Mafi.
The 26-year-old Talakai, who has signed until the end of 2019, has
made 41 Super Rugby appearances for the Queensland Reds since his debut
against the Brumbies in the opening round of the 2015 Super Rugby
After impressing in the inaugural season of the National Rugby
Championship (NRC), Talakai earned his first shot at Super Rugby, where
he quickly became a regular feature for the Reds over the last three
years, appearing in 41 of a possible 46 Super Rugby games, including 12
starts in 2017.
“I’m very excited to join the Rebels for the next two seasons,” Talakai told the Melbourne Rebels' official website.
"“The Rebels have made great strides to build on the talent already
at the club and I’m looking forward to playing a part in that movement.
“I’m a big believer in competition bringing out the best in players,
and with the forward pack building it’s a great place for me to continue
my development as a player in a world-class environment. I’m just
pumped about the opportunity presented and I will work hard to help the
club reach its full potential.”
Ainsley, who has signed until the end of 2018, earned his first
Wallabies selection this year when the 22-year-old was named in the
training squad for The Rugby Championship after coming of age during the
2017 Super Rugby season with the Western Force.
The son of former All Blacks, Highlanders and Hurricanes front-row
Joe McDonnell, the 115kg prop made 17 appearances for the Force
following his Super Rugby debut against the Rebels in the opening round
of the 2016 season.
“The Melbourne Rebels will provide me with the opportunity to further
my career in a quality rugby program full of top players and coaches,”
“I’ve got great belief in the vision of the club so I’m looking forward to being a part of an exciting new era for the Rebels.”
Melbourne Rebels head coach David Wessels feels the duo will have plenty to prove in the new environment.
“Sam and Jermaine are two young props with bright futures and I
expect them to prosper in our program and contribute to the successful
future of the Melbourne Rebels,” he said.
“Sam has established himself as a consistent performer and a natural
leader with a very high skill set for a prop over the last couple of
years with the Queensland Reds and Brisbane City.
“I’ve been really impressed by Jermaine’s enormous development over
the last couple of years, which has been recognised with his first
Wallabies selection, and I believe that he’s got a big future in