English ready to be versatile for Rebels

Super Rugby
by AAP

Melbourne back Tom English is ready to shift from the wing to the centres to accommodate cross-code star Marika Koroibete's arrival at the Super Rugby club.

English played the final three games of last year's season on the wing, but has spent part of his pre-season playing in the centres as coach Tony McGahan attempts to find room with Koroibete's inclusion.

"If it's wing or centre, I'm happy to do both," English said. "We've explored that option during the pre-season.

"With Marika being injured I have moved back to the wing. But it's important to be versatile and I would welcome that chance if it comes."

English scored two tries for the Rebels last season on the wing.

He would also face another challenge to dethrone established centre Mitch Inman from his centre spot, given up-and-coming Wallabies player Rhys Hodge would appear a certainty for the other.
English faces plenty of competition for a spot in the Rebels backline this year. Photo: Getty Images.The Rebels have also signed Japanese winger Kentara Kodomo the 2017 season, after he debuted in international rugby last year.

"There's a lot of competition there," English said.

"But it's exciting. Competition drives standard and you're always going to be pushing yourself."

This season should mark a crucial one in the Rebels' development.

Now entering their seventh season, they have established themselves as the third-ranked team in the Australian conference for the past two years, but are yet to make a finals series.

But with the recruitment of Koroibete from the Melbourne Storm in the NRL and nine players with Wallabies' experience in their squad, English believes it is a time for that to change.

"We're no longer the baby of the competition," he said.

"We've kind of hid under that label for the past few years but I think that's well behind us.

"It's no excuse for us anymore, we just need to gel."

The Rebels kick off their 2017 Super Rugby campaign at AAMI Park against the Auckland Blues. Memberships can be purchased at www.melbournerebels.com.au