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The RaboDirect Rebels have declined the opportunity to offer Qantas Wallabies flyhalf James O'Connor a further contract beyond the 2013 season.
Melbourne Rebels Chief Executive, Rob Clarke, complimented O'Connor for his contribution to the Club over the last two years which unfortunately was somewhat limited due to a string of injuries.
"I would like to acknowledge the role James has played in helping the Rebels gain traction in the very competitive sporting landscape in Melbourne.
"After three years in the Super 15 competition, the Club is entering the next phase of development. I am very confident in our player recruitment strategies which continue to identify some excellent emerging talent. This group will provide the platform for continual improvement, both on and off the field."
Clarke also paid tribute to other departing players and the positive impact they have had on the Club, as it continues to build a sustainable winning culture.
"Our foundation Rebels Gareth Delve, Ged Robinson, along with retiring players Nic Henderson and Tim Davidson will all depart the Club this year, leaving a lasting imprint on the Victorian Rugby community.
"We pay tribute to all our departing players and our 2013 Rebels team at AAMI Park on June 12, hopefully capping off our most successful season in our short history," said Clarke.
The Western Force return to NIB Stadium for the second time this season and the Honey Badger wants sea of blue fans to “get your carcass on the chair”! In 2014 the Force had a slow start to the season, before finishing off strongly, and they will be hoping for a repeat after winning just one of their opening four matches this season!
The Queensland Reds are struggling with injury and form at present, and they’ve been handed another massive blow this weekend with James O’Connor (leg) & Lachie Turner (concussion) being ruled out. Suffering a 23-5 loss to the NSW Waratahs on the weekend, the Reds will run onto Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night looking to turn their season around after just one win to their name in the opening four rounds coming against the Western Force two weeks ago!