Victorian Axemen and Footscray captain Maciu Nabolakasi and Harlequins Folau Finau-Vea will take their talents to Osaka, Japan as part of the 2023 Melbourne Rebels Japan Tour Squad.
Putting their best foot forward throughout VAILO Dewar Shield and Australian Rugby Shield campaigns, both Maciu Nabolakasi and Folau Finau-Vea will represent their respective Footscray and Harlequin clubs and communities, with the opportunity to take the field with Super Rugby and International talent.
The pair most recently formed a key part of the Victorian Axemen squad who competed at the Australian Rugby Shield in Ballymore, Brisbane from September 27 to October 2, walking away from the tournament in fifth place.
Speaking on the opportunity to take part in the 2023 Melbourne Rebels Japan Tour, Victorian Axemen and Footscray captain Nabolakasi said it was a huge achievement.
“You grow up watching some of these players and to prepare yourself to play alongside and against them is something that does not happen easily,” said Nabolakasi
“Opportunities such as this before me show that anything can happen, even though you are playing at a grassroots level. You just have to prepare yourself to take these opportunities, believe in yourself and have the confidence that these opportunities can take you far.
“It will certainly be eye-opening - from the people, the place, the food and the opportunity to train with a top Japanese team and play there – but at the same time it is incredibly exciting.”
VAILO Dewar Shield Premiership player Finau-Vea echoed this excitement, with the opportunity ahead potentially paving the way for new beginnings.
“It means a lot, especially to my family back home,” said Finau-Vea.
“I got a phone call from my parents who were crying over the phone, telling me how proud they were of me even for just getting a place on this tour.
“I’m excited to learn from these boys, to rub shoulders with Super Rugby players and International players on both sides is something that will develop my game to a higher standard and help me get to where I want to be - that is the next level.”
Nabolakasi and Finau-Vea form part of the 25-man squad for the eight-day Japan tour, with the Melbourne Rebels set to face Hanazono Kintetsu Liners on Saturday October 14.
This match is set to be livestreamed, with more information coming next week.
Congratulations to both men on their inclusion in the 2023 Melbourne Rebels Japan squad!