Resurgent Rebels sign even more Wallabies
THE resurgent Rebels have continued their signing spree with the addition of Wallabies trio Billy Meakes, Matt Philip and Richard Hardwick to go with a former New Zealand age-group star.
Former Force players Meakes, Philip and Hardwick will reunite with coach Dave Wessels until the end of the 2019 season while backline utility Tayler Adams will get his first shot at Super Rugby.
"We're delighted to have Matt, Dickie and Billy join us," Wessels said.
"All three of them work incredibly hard and want to be part of the Wallabies team at the next World Cup. They'll be a great addition to our squad both on and off-field.
"Tayler has shown exceptional potential this year with his consistency and game management for West Harbour and NSW Country Eagles.
"The four will add to our depth and versatility, as well as create healthy competition among the group."
Wallabies lock Philip will continue his rapid rise in Australian rugby after committing to the Rebels for the next two seasons.
The second rower capped off a remarkable year with a Wallabies debut against Japan after he established himself as the first-choice lock for the Force, where he made 10 appearances, including eight starts, in 2017.
Fellow forward Hardwick was a mainstay of the Force's 2017 campaign as the versatile backrower appeared in all 15 games and finished the year third at the club for pilfers and forced penalties.
Hardwick's meteoric rise in Australian rugby was capped off with two Wallabies appearances in June, including the 23-year-old's Test debut against Fiji at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Meakes, meanwhile, has kept his Wallabies dream alive ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The hard-running midfielder was named in the Wallabies squad in 2017 after the 26-year-old impressed in his first Super Rugby season with the Force, where he started in all his 14 appearances and finished the year as club's leader for tackle busts and second for offloads, line break assists and runs.
Rising star Adams has scored his first professional contract with the Rebels after the utility impressed with the Eagles and in the exhibition game against Toyota Verblitz on Sunday.
The 23-year-old playmaker made 24 appearances for Southland in New Zealand's Mitre 10 Cup, where he made his debut at just 18-years-old, before he moved across the Tasman to join the NRC's Greater Sydney Rams (2015) and Eagles (2016-17).
The former NZ under-20s representative was awarded the Shute Shield's player of the tear award, the Ken Catchpole Medal, with West Harbour and finished this year's NRC as the competition's fourth-leading point scorer.
Hardwick and Adams have joined their new teammates for the kick-off of pre-season while Philip and Meakes will arrive in Melbourne following the Spring Tour.