Test trio sign with Rebels

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies lock Adam Coleman remains the big fish yet to declare his Super Rugby future, after the Rebels announced a trio of Wallabies signings on Thursday.

Billy Meakes, Matt Philip and June Series debutant Richard Hardwick have become the latest former Force players to sign with the Rebels, with new two-year deals taking them through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Meakes and Philip had been strongly linked to the Rebels, both having cracked the Wallabies squad under the tutelage of former Force and now Rebels coach Dave Wessels.

Philip made his Test debut against Japan a fortnight ago, after a meteoric rise in Super Rugby this season, and looks set to be part of the 23 to face England this weekend.Matt Philip has learned from Adam Coleman. Photo: Getty ImagesMeakes is yet to make his Wallabies debut, but has been among the Test squad during the Rugby Championship and Spring Tour, while Hardwick played two June Tests.

Wessels has been a major influence on all three of the Force players, with the trio saying in recent weeks and months that the coach would play a major role in their next contract move.

“We’re delighted to have Matt, Dickie (Richard) and Billy join us,” Wessels said.

“All three of them work incredibly hard and want to be part of the Wallabies team at the next World Cup.

“They’ll be a great addition to our squad both on and off-field.”Shute Shield star flyhalf Tayler Adams has also signed for a year, adding to the Rebels’ flyhalf depth, with Jack Debreczeni and Jackson Garden-Bachop both departing the club this season.

Wessels said the West Harbour playmaker would add plenty of value for the side in 2018.

“Tayler has shown exceptional potential this year with his consistency and game management for West Harbour and NSW Country Eagles.

“The four will add to our depth and versatility, as well as create healthy competition among the group.”

Coleman is the most high-profile Wallaby still yet to publicly commit to the Rebels, after a swathe of his teammates have made the move across the country.

Former Force lyhalf Jono Lance has also been strongly tipped to join the franchise after an injury loan stint with Worcester, while Wallabies back Curtis Rona is also yet to declare his future, whether it be in rugby league or union - let alone his final franchise destination.