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Rebels lock down homegrown talent

Wed, 20/07/2022, 4:23 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Kells gives us the latest on his Wallabies return, what it means to see his Rebels’ teammates perform on the international stage and why, despite it being July, our boys are working hard and are more connected than ever!

The Melbourne Rebels have continued to tie down local talent, re-signing trio Josh Canham, Isaac Aedo Kailea and Divad Palu.

They are joined by Theo Fourie, Jaiden Christian and Rebels academy star Leafi Talataina, promoted to the full-time squad for the 2023 season.

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Canham was instantly thrust into the starting line-up, making his debut against the Fijian Drua in round three of Super Rugby Pacific.

The 20-year-old has established himself as a regular starter since, playing in ten games throughout the season as he formed a strong partnership with Matt Philip.

“I’m extremely proud to have cracked Super Rugby and to represent that next generation of Victorian players coming through,” Canham said in a statement.

“You look at my progression, and a number of other guys – it shows there’s talent here and that the pathways are continuing to strengthen.”

As for Aedo Kailea, he made his debut at the start of the 2021 Super Rugby AU season, featuring in five games over the past two seasons as he dealt with injuries.

After completing a full recovery, the young tighthead is eager to test himself against the likes of Pone Fa'amausili and Sam Talakai.

“I didn’t really get much of an off-season last year during rehab, so I’m thrilled just to be fit, competing and putting my case forward to the coaches,” Aedo Kailea believes.

“I’ve been so proud watching what our older boys like Rob, Pone and Josh have achieved. Having Daniel Maiava come has been exciting as well, and that’s something I want to be a part of next year.”

Meanwhile, Palu is the latest Melbourne-bred talent coming through the ranks, named in the Junior Wallabies squad for the Oceania U20 Championships.

With the likes of Glen Vaihu and Daniel Maiava making an impact in 2022, Palu is pushing for a Super Rugby debut in 2023.

“It’s an honour to be able to represent Burn City and as a local player, I’m so excited to live out my dream and inspire the younger generation to never give up and enjoy," Palu added.

The re-signings come after the club have blooded a record number of homegrown talent, with the likes of Rob Leota, Jordan Uelese and Fa'amausili selected in Wallabies squads.

Rebels GM of Rugby Nick Stiles believes the re-signings provide a clear pathway for the next generation of 'Burn Boys' to make their mark in Super Rugby Pacific.

“It’s fantastic to have six talented young players all commit to the Rebels and want to be part of the connected culture we’re growing in Melbourne,” Stiles believes.

“Josh and Isaac are leading that next generation of Burn Boys who have come through our pathway system and have already gained Super Rugby experience.

“Divad, Theo and Jaiden are three talented prospects who have impressed everyone at the Club with their growth this year under the close watch of Pom Simona, who has done an excellent job with all of our Elite Pathways players.

“Having another local academy player get promoted is great and something our rugby community should be very proud of.

“It’s been awesome seeing the flow on effect from having a hometown team to support, and development pathways that can provide a clear direction to playing Super Rugby for the Melbourne Rebels.

“Having four more local players be a part of our main squad shows there’s elite talent in Victoria and that our development systems are making a wonderful impact.”

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