A new look Melbourne Rebels Academy launched this past weekend, with the high performance program subscribing to the newly introduced Rugby AU National Talent Management Model.
This new model aligns all state pathway programs for the first time, providing a consistent and clear pathway across Australia. Boys from the age of 15 will now be targeted and aligned with a state-based academy. Those players will eventually progress through national tournaments to U18 Academies, the new U19 Rugby Championship and NRC with the eventual target Super Rugby and Test rugby.
Melbourne Rebels Head of Academy Nic Henderson believes this model is a step in the right direction. “The move towards the new Academy model will now allow athletes to be exposed to a high performance Academy system for a full 12 months,” Henderson said.
“This allows the gap between players in the early stages of their development and those at the professional level to be brought closer.
“Those players in the U18 Junior Academy will see the biggest difference in their program, with the addition of Junior Academy games to be played throughout the year”.
The Rebels Junior Academy have already locked in two matches against the Brumbies Academy and Reds Academy which will provide an opportunity for the players to put their hard work into practice and match-up against the best players from each state.
In addition to the introduction of a new structure, Henderson has also brought in a number of quality coaches to work closely with the playing group.
“We have experienced coaches involved with the program which will allow us to deliver a quality program,” Henderson said.
“Pom Simona will be leading the Rugby program, with Greg Fergus and Luke Crameri, while we also have Justin Blee returning to drive the athletic performance area with Eoin Scullion and Damon Arezzolo”.
The program will hope to add to the growing number of players who have progressed through the Academy system and gone on to higher honours with either the Melbourne Rebels, Junior Wallabies or Wallabies. That list includes:
- Fereti Sa’aga
- Rob Leota
- Jordan Uelese
- Sione Tuipulotu
- Trevor Hosea
- Ah Mu Tuimaliliifano
- Ta Hosea
- Ikapote Tupai
- Hunter Paisami
- Billy Gray
- Pone Faumausili