Weeks signs Super 15 deal with Rebels - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Weeks signs Super 15 deal with Rebels

By Melissa Woods 18/03/2010 06:42:16 PM Comments (0)

And now there are two.

Exciting young Queensland prop Laurie Weeks has become the second player, and the first Australian-based player , to sign with the Melbourne Rebels Super 15 rugby franchise.

The signing of Weeks, who joins former England five-eighth Danny Cipriani, was announced at a lunch in Melbourne on Thursday.

The news came as a surprise to Queensland, with coach Ewen McKenzie saying earlier in the day that the promising tighthead was yet to make a decision and that the Reds hadn't given up the fight for him.

Weeks, 23, is considered a future Wallaby after winning last year's Super 14 Rookie of the Year award.

He has been in impressive form for the resurgent Reds but history with Rebels assistant coach Damien Hill, who was his coach at Sydney University helped lure him south.

"Laurie's a smart young player," said Melbourne coach Rod Macqueen.

"Props are a very important thing for us for the future and he wants to come to Melbourne.

"At the same time he's very loyal to Queensland and wants to make sure he does the right thing for them for the rest of the year."

Almost 800 attended the Weary Dunlop lunch, hopeful of hearing more signings, and they were treated to a video presentation shown to prospective players that even featured Collingwood president Eddie McGuire talking up the franchise, which joins the competition next year.

But Macqueen said trumpeting their players was not the Rebels' style, hence the silence following the end of restrictions on Monday that had prevented Melbourne signing Australian-based players.

He said he was mindful of the impact on the other Australian Super 14 sides.

"We want to go softly, softly, we're not about beating the drums.

"We're about putting together a good side and hopefully people have faith in what we're doing."

Macqueen said they would announce more players in the coming weeks, with the 28-man list completed within three months.

He said the Rebels had been very deliberate in their selection of players and wanted a blend of experience, eyeing off six former skippers including former Australian captain Stirling Mortlock, as well as youth.

"I'm not going to name them but I think we'll have at least six captains.

"We need to be successful from day one so we've got to have some experienced players there.

"For some players it's going to be instead of going overseas and making a lot of money but then coming back and starting from scratch we can have the benefit of their expertise here for a couple of years and hopefully they'll become part of the Melbourne business community.

"And in the mean-time the younger players can learn from them."

He insisted Melbourne had only missed out on one player that they had offered a contract to.

"We're talking to a lot of players but we're not offering a lot of players contracts," he said.

Macqueen said they were also still hopeful of signing former league star Mark Gasnier but were waiting for the Australian Rugby Union, who will top up his contract, to complete its negotiations.

The Rebels also confirmed the appointment of former Wallabies strength and conditioning coach Mark Bakewell as forwards coach.

Bakewell was most recently forwards coach at English club Bath, and has also been involved with French clubs Brive and Beziers.

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