Melbourne Rebels have have formed an alliance with Japanese rugby club Kintetsu that will see them exchange players and coaches over the next two years.
The Super Rugby outfit and the Liners will share best practice and innovation as well as play exhibition games in Osaka and Melbourne each year.
Kinetsu, who have recruited ex-Rebels Will Genia and Quade Cooper outside of the partnership, are bidding to return to the Japan Top League.
Rebels coach Dave Wessels and chief executive Baden Stephenson will kick off the partnership with a working visit to the Kintetsu training base in Osaka next month.
The second division Liners are coached by former Queensland Reds coach and ex-Wallabies prop Nick Stiles.
MELBOURNE REBELS ANNOUNCE GROUNDBREAKING PARTNERSHIP WITH JAPANESE GIANT KINTETSU— Melbourne Rebels (@MelbourneRebels) September 13, 2019
The new alliance represents the most significant partnership ever established between an AUS Super Rugby Club and Japanese company.
Read more: https://t.co/wLo9wcrh4g pic.twitter.com/6CElxuJTr6
"The Melbourne Rebels are committed to taking Melbourne to the world through a multi-faceted international strategy," Stephenson said in a statement.
"We are developing strong relationships with many successful Japanese companies and utilising our expertise in rugby to support the Liners' efforts to regain their place in the Top League."
The Rebels also have a partnership with Japanese Super Rugby club the Sunwolves.
The Liners' parent company, Kintetsu Group, is a Japanese passenger railway company and has a developing commercial presence in Melbourne.