The Melbourne Rebels have signed homegrown talent Sione Tuipulotu and Rob Leota until the end of 2019.
The duo were the first Victorians to graduate from the local elite pathway last year, having signed a one-year deal for the 2016 season.
Both Tuipulotu and Leota were last week named in the Australian U20s squad for the World Rugby U20s Championship in Manchester next month.
Rebels coach Tony McGahan was thrilled to have the pair re-commit to the club.
“It’s fantastic to have both Sione and Rob re-sign with the Rebels,” he said.
“They’re local players that have done really well and worked their way through the system so we’re excited about the talent of those two and more importantly where we think they can end up in our program at the Rebels.
“To have two young talented Victorian kids showing the way is exciting and we’re hopeful there are many more young men in Victoria playing Rugby that are inspired by their opportunities and follow in their footsteps.”
While only 18, Tuipulotu already has three Super Rugby caps to his name and said he was happy to stay with the club that gave him his first opportunity.
“It’s exciting to re-sign with the Rebels and gives me confidence in my game so I’ll be sticking around Melbourne for a little while longer which is great to continue to have support of my friends and family,” he said.
Leota has recently recovered from an ankle injury and said it meant a lotto him to be able to stay in his home state.
“It’s a massive honour to be able to put on the Rebels jersey for my family and friends. It’s great that Sione and I have shown the young Victorian players that there is a goal to strive for here in Melbourne.” He said.
Both players arrive in Sydney today for a two-week training camp in Narrabeen with the Australia U20s squad ahead of the upcoming World Championships.