Rebels sign former All Black O'Neill - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rebels sign former All Black O'Neill

29/05/2010 12:28:35 PM Comments (0)

Former All Blacks' lock Kevin O'Neill is the latest signing for new Super rugby franchise, the Melbourne Rebels.

His province, Waikato, said on Saturday that the Chiefs' player, with one test cap for the All Blacks in 2008, will also not be available for Waikato in this year's national provincial competition.

The 2.01m lock has played 32 matches for the Chiefs and 20 for Waikato, after earlier playing for the Crusaders and Canterbury.

"We are sorry to be losing such an experienced forward from our province, however we are aware that comes with the territory in professional rugby," Waikato coach Chris Gibbes said.

"Kevin has been a great performer for Waikato and will be missed."

The announcement of O'Neill's departure comes on the same day Waikato revealed Brumbies' fly-half Christian Lealiifano will play for the province in the domestic competition this season.

The 22-year-old, who was born in Auckland, will arrive early next month to embark on a "one-off" campaign with Waikato.

"It is a unique opportunity to have a proven, quality Super 14 player from outside our region wanting to play for Waikato," Gibbes said.

"He is keen to carry on his good Super rugby form into our national provincial rugby competition.

"Christian is a skilful player, and he is the type of guy who I'm sure will help inspire a lot of young players in our squad."

Lealiifano played six Super 14 games for the Brumbies this season, before being sidelined with a knee injury.

He has recovered from the rupture to his posterior cruciate and will be fully fit for the ITM Cup which starts at the end of July.

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