Melbourne Rebels make key re-signing for 2018

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

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    The Melbourne Rebels have continued to bolster their roster for the 2018 season, announcing the re-signing of star back rower Amanaki Mafi.

    The Japanese international, voted players’ player at the Rebels in 2017, will stay with the club for a second year after spending the first part of his career at Bath, before being loaned to the NTT Shining Arcs in the Japanese top league.

    Mafi said it was an easy decision to re-sign with the club.

    “It was an easy decision to re-sign with the Rebels, since I’ve arrived everyone has made me feel welcome and my family and I love it here in Melbourne, it’s a great city and my second home,” Mafi said.

    “I’m looking forward to next year because there is more I want to achieve with the club and we’ve got some great young players so I think the Rebels will have a great season.”

    Mafi was one of only three Rebels players to start in all 15 games during the just completed Super Rugby season, leading the competition for runs with 184 and running more metres than any other forward with 1378. He also had 30 offloads and 48 tackle busts during the season.

    The No.8 made his debut for Japan during 2014 and has gone on to play 16 matches. He has been named man of the match once and also was part of the team who caused the upset of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, overcoming South Africa.

    Melbourne Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said he was a key member of the Rebels squad and the club were happy to have him back for 2018.

    “We’re thrilled that fan favourite Amanaki has chosen to remain with the Rebels in Melbourne for another year after a standout first Super Rugby season generated plenty of interest,” Stephenson said.

    “Amanaki was the most dominant forward in the Australian Conference and quickly established himself as a highly respected member of the Rebels squad with his consistent hard running and physical presence in the backrow a highlight in every game this season.”

    Mafi is currently playing in the Japan top league with the Shining Arcs and will return to the Rebels in January once the season concludes.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.