The Rebels have finished their 2017 roster with a bang, signing New Zealand youngster Jackson Garden-Bachop.
Garden-Bachop is the son of former All Black Stephen Bachop and the nephew of Graeme Bachop and starred with the Wellington Lions in the Mitre 10 Cup.
The Wellington junior has been attracting headlines since childhood but had yet to be locked into a Super Rugby contract until now.
“I’m excited to sign my first Super Rugby contract, it’s been a goal of mine for the last four of years since I left school to take the next step so I’m very happy that Melbourne has given me the opportunity,” he said.
“I’m definitely ready to give Super Rugby a crack, train full-time and learn from some really good players and top quality coaches so I’m focused on getting to Melbourne and putting in some good work with the Rebels.”
The 22-year-old caught fans' attention this year, slotting seven penalties against North Harbour and booting a 45-metre post full-time goal to down Counties Manukau.
Jackson Garden-Bachop with this kick to win the Jonah Lomu memorial trophy for Wellington!— EatSleepRugby (@eatsleeprugby) September 11, 2016
Via - the tight five pic.twitter.com/hJkKQmyoBd
A former New Zealand schoolboy and U20s representative, Garden-Bachop can play a number of backline positions, as well as the chief playmaking role.
Rebels head coach Tony McGahan said Garden-Bachop had been in his sights well before this season.
“We have been watching Jackson for some time and we have been very impressed with his temperament, consistency of core skills and hunger to compete,” he said.
The Rebels have pulled off some recruiting coups this year, signing Marika Koroibete from the Melbourne Storm as well as U20s star Jack Maddocks.
Melbourne take on the Auckland Blues on February 23 2017 to kick off their Super Rugby year.
Memberships available at www.melbournerebels.com
2017 Melbourne Rebels
Cruze Ah-Nau, Steve Cummins, Dominic Day (Toyota Verblitz, JAP), Jack Debreczeni, Tom English, Colby Fainga’a, Pama Fou (Australian Sevens), Harley Fox, Jackson Garden-Bachop (Wellington Lions, NZ), James Hanson, Reece Hodge, Mitch Inman, Sam Jeffries, Marika Koroibete (Melbourne Storm, NRL), Pat Leafa, Rob Leota, Tyrel Lomax (Tuggeranong, ACT), Jack McGregor (Gordon, NSW), Sean McMahon, Jack Maddocks (Easts, NSW), Amanaki Mafi (NTT Communications, JAP), Ben Meehan, Tim Metcher, Tom Moloney, Sefa Naivalu, Jonah Placid, Jordy Reid, Culum Retallick, Dominic Shipperley, Siliva Siliva, Toby Smith, Mick Snowden, Nic Stirzaker, Lopeti Timani, Alex Toolis (Edinburgh, UK), Sione Tuipulotu, Jordan Uelese (Melbourne Uni, VIC) Laurie Weeks.