Ten years into the Super Rugby competition, the Rebels came the closest to a finals series in 2020 than they've ever been – they made one.
Locked out of Melbourne for the entirety of the season, the Rebels went on tour, playing for their families, friends and fans locked down back in Victoria.
It was this passion and camaraderie which saw them reach the qualifying final.
While they were unsuccessful in qualifying for the final, 2020 highlighted that the Rebels have what it takes to play high-level Rugby.
With core playmakers retained and a swarm of new talent from The Australian Sevens program, the Rebels have a chance to go all the way in 2021.
WHO'S IN: Lachlan Anderson, Ignacio Calas, Edward Craig, Steven Cummins, Carter Gordon, James Hanson, Lewis Holland, Joe Powell, Jeral Skelton, Lucio Sordoni, Theo Strang, Young Tonumaipea, Jordan Uelese, Glen Vaihau, Rhys Van Nek and llikena Vudogo.
WHO'S OUT: Jermaine Ainsley, Angus Cottrell, Andrew Deegan, Tom English, Mees Erasmus, Esei Haangana, Luke Jones, Andrew Kellaway, Ryan Louwrens, Jack Maddocks, Billy Meakes, Declan Moore, Harry Potter, Anaru Rangi, Fereti Sa’aga, Ruan Smith and Semisi Tupou
ONE TO WATCH: Jeral Skelton
The Aussie 7s convert, Skelton will be looking to make his mark in the XV’s code.
With the Olympics still on the horizon, Skelton will not only be looking to keep on the Radar of Australia 7s coaches.
However, a transfer to the Rebels, Skelton will also be seen on Wallabies staff's screen, as he fights for a starting spot in the Rebels run-on side.
It will be challenging for the Rebels to break into the top two this year. Both the Brumbies and Reds have remained tight as a squad, and we think that will see them into the finals in 2021.
However, they’re in a strong position and have proven to the other team that they are no longer the easy beats.
Super Rugby Trans-Tasman will add another layer for the Rebels preparation this year, and if they remain firm in Super Rugby AU, they’ll be a team on a mission in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.
2021 Melbourne Rebels Squad:
Rhys Van Nek