Jake Schatz in action for the Queensland Reds.
Jake Schatz in action for the Queensland Reds. CRAIG GOLDING

Rebels call in duo as injury cover

RUGBY UNION: Former Queensland Reds back-rower Jake Schatz has been handed a Super Rugby lifeline because of an injury crisis at the Melbourne Rebels.

The Rebels have signed 26-year-old Schatz, who played 86 Super Rugby games for the Reds, as cover for Wallabies forward Sean McMahon, who is recovering from an ankle injury.

Cut by Queensland at the end of last season, Schatz has been drafted in at Melbourne with McMahon expected to miss the first month of the Super Rugby season following surgery on his ankle after he initially damaged the joint during last year's Rugby Championship.

Melbourne has also signed centre Dennis Pili-Gatuia with former Australian sevens player Pama Fou out for the season with a knee injury.

New signing Fou ruptured his ACL at training for the second time in less than a year.

Rebels general manager Baden Stephenson was glad to welcome the experienced pair to the Rebels' ranks.

"The inclusion of Jake and Dennis will provide the squad with additional cover and depth as we ramp up our preparations for 2017 with trial matches against the Force and Reds over the next two weeks,” he said.

The Rebels play their first trial matches against the Western Force on Monday and the Reds on February 14 and also have entered a team in the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens.

Marika Koroibete, who moved from the Melbourne Storm in the off-season, is expected to play in the Brisbane Tens if he overcomes a knee injury.