Rebels in talks with Wallabies forward Timani

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    The Melbourne Rebels have put out the welcome mat for Wallaby forward Sitaleki Timani but he’s yet to commit to the Super Rugby side.

    The Rebels were already in the market for a lock and may land a bigger fish than expected after Timani’s big money deal with French club Montpellier reportedly fell through.

    With his former Super Rugby outfit NSW Waratahs already replacing him with South African Jacques Potgieter, Timani may join his younger brother Lopeti in Melbourne.

    He would be a huge get, literally, standing 203cm and weighing 120kg.

    Timani’s relationship with Rebels coach Tony McGahan, who was previously Wallabies coaching co-ordinator, adds further weight to Melbourne’s case.

    “Very early discussion have been had but it’s very much in Sitaleki’s hands to where he stands with his opportunity in France,” said Rebels chief executive Rob Clarke.

    “We wanted to at least let him and the Australian Rugby Union know that we have an opportunity for a lock and he would be a perfect fit for us at the Rebels.”

    Backrower Lopeti Timani, 19, joined Melbourne on a two-year deal starting in 2014 after limited game time at NSW.

    He won’t start training with the Rebels until October, playing Sydney club rugby with Southern Districts alongside his 26-year-old brother beforehand.

    If Sitaleki decides to remains in Australia he will become available for Wallaby selection, after initially being overlooked by new coach Ewen McKenzie because of his expected departure for France.

    After 10 Test caps, he missed the British and Irish Lions series due to thumb surgery.

    The Rebels are also on the look-out for a couple of backs.

    Melbourne have some money to spare after releasing Test stars James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale, who last week re-signed with NSW.

    O’Connor initially pin-pointed this break in the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship schedule to make a decision on his playing future.

    However his manager David Shand said he didn’t expect any news this week.

    O’Connor is believed to be headed back to the Western Force however their chief executive Mark Sinderberry is overseas until the end of the week.

    Shand said there was interest from parties including other Australian provinces, overseas rugby clubs and rugby league but O’Connor’s preference was to play rugby union in Australia.

    “All I can say is that negotiations are ongoing and are very positive with the ARU at this stage,” he said.

    “His focus at the moment is playing for the Wallabies.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (51)

    • Roar Guru

      August 28th 2013 @ 7:57am
      Simon Levingston said | August 28th 2013 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      If I was Michael Cheika I would sign O’Connor. To have a Waratahs back line with O’Connor, Folau (if he signs), AAC and Beale in the would be worth the heavy price of admission.

      Cheika should also be chasing the signature of Sitaleki Timani. The combination of Timani, Douglas and Skelton as locks will give the Waratahs a real boost and a dominant scrum.

      Come on Cheika, get to work and sign these guys!

      • August 28th 2013 @ 8:24am
        Paul said | August 28th 2013 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        How much money do you think the Tahs have left to resign Timani and pick up O’Conner? I’m happy with Timani not being there to give Skelton more of a chance to step up. Hopefully some of Big JP’s aggression rubs off on him, and some on the other forwards as well.

        I just seems watching the Wallabies forwards, in particular Horwill, they don’t run hard at the line. They jog up and flop in the tackle almost succoming to it. None of them look like they even want to break the line with a brutal hit, just more interested in setting up the next phase. They should run like they expect to put you on your arse (Ben Tameifuna style), not expect to be tackled.

        On O’Conner. I’m surprised the Reds are silent, it would seem they could to with a quality Fullback. Perhaps they want to keep the flame (O’Conner) away from the Petrol (Cooper).

        • August 28th 2013 @ 10:20am
          jameswm said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:20am | ! Report

          God knows what sort of backline the Tahs would have if JOC came

          Option A
          10. Beale
          11. JOC
          12. Foley
          13. AAC
          14. Crawford/Betham
          15. Folau

          Option B
          10. Foley
          11. Folau
          12. JOC
          13. AAC
          14. Crawford/Betham
          15. Beale

          Option C
          10. Beale
          11. Betham
          12. JOC
          13. AAC
          14. Crawford
          15. Folau

          JOC, Folau, Beale and Crawford can all play 15 well. Foley, Beale and JOC can all play 10. Someone has to play 12, JOC?

          • August 28th 2013 @ 12:13pm
            Justin3 said | August 28th 2013 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

            Plenty of point for and against there Id suggest. Would be the weakest defensive 10-12 channel in the comp…

            • August 28th 2013 @ 7:30pm
              bennalong said | August 28th 2013 @ 7:30pm | ! Report


              • August 28th 2013 @ 10:02pm
                Justin3 said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:02pm | ! Report

                Good comeback….

        • August 28th 2013 @ 11:29am
          Andy said | August 28th 2013 @ 11:29am | ! Report

          Since when did playing inside the salary cap effect the Tahs? With all the allegations last season of salary cap rorting, I think we all know which province was linked to that. I don’t think they need him but that would be one hell of a backline. Maybe O’Connor’s brand could do with that sort of a playing group, even if it meant he wasn’t getting paid as much up front anyhow.

        • Roar Guru

          August 28th 2013 @ 12:55pm
          Jiggles said | August 28th 2013 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

          Salary Cap?!?! What Salary Cap!!!

          • August 28th 2013 @ 3:27pm
            johnson said | August 28th 2013 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

            did they breach it? did the ARU take action? please do tell!!!

    • August 28th 2013 @ 9:04am
      jutsie said | August 28th 2013 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      timani at the rebels may be a good signing, will def strengthen the scrum with his weight in the 2nd row and frees up jones to focus more on the no. 6 position

      • August 28th 2013 @ 9:18am
        Justin3 said | August 28th 2013 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        Juts the pack gets interesting for next year. There is some real hope with the new props and the existing back 5 could be an excellent combination. Timani’s 1 & 2 will add real depth which is crucial now in this competition.

        While I dont think Timani is Test standard he is a handy recruit at this level

        • August 28th 2013 @ 9:29am
          jutsie said | August 28th 2013 @ 9:29am | ! Report

          the front row is the biggest issue obviously. I dont know enough about the new recruits but hopefully they do the job. But like you say our back 5 is looking really good. I think a starting back 5 of pyle, s timani, jones, faiingaa & higgy would be a good start with neville and saffy/L timani on the bench

        • August 28th 2013 @ 10:21am
          Joe Blow said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          Not test standard? Our powder puff forwards have been smacked around by the BILs and the ABs twice. We desperately miss Timani and Palu. I bet Link has been in contact with Timani and we will see him back in gold very soon!

          • August 28th 2013 @ 11:33am
            Andy said | August 28th 2013 @ 11:33am | ! Report

            So we can see him not make it to the breakdown for 80 mins, roll over anytime someone comes in to tackle and deiver only at scrum time? Please, he isn’t tet standard. He’s big and strong but delivers nothing. If that’s not powder puff I don’t know what is. The forwards need to work as a pack, that’s what is letting them down. No real shame in losng to 4 nations combined or he best side on the planet. People are panicking, ad we really don’t know how they’ll perform until we see them against the Boks. All bets are off until then.

          • August 28th 2013 @ 12:16pm
            Justin3 said | August 28th 2013 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

            So you like locks who cant jump and are just there to push in scrums and make an occasional run and are easily shut down by the defence? And who’s ball security is questionable…

        • Roar Rookie

          August 28th 2013 @ 10:23am
          Boomeranga said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          Neville / [Big Timani]
          Saffy / Jones
          Faingaa / Fugli
          Higginbotham / Lil’ Timani

          It’s a very strong group as far as our teams go.

          • Roar Rookie

            August 28th 2013 @ 12:25pm
            Boomeranga said | August 28th 2013 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

            I forgot Jordy Read is there as well. He goes very well at club level.

      • Roar Guru

        August 28th 2013 @ 9:57am
        Jiggles said | August 28th 2013 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        Would you prefer to start him over Neville or Pyle? I Wouldn’t

        Pyle is turning into a great LHL while Neville has a massive motor with a few technical deficiencies. If he can fix those he will be 10x the player Timani is.

        • August 28th 2013 @ 10:50am
          jutsie said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:50am | ! Report

          i would start timani over neville and play him for 40 to 50 min to get our scrum of to a good start. Neville on at the back half of the game.

    • August 28th 2013 @ 10:22am
      jameswm said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:22am | ! Report

      Who is the Rebels 7? Colby Finger, that’s right. He’s a good player.

      So you can rotate the three locks, Neville, Pyle and Timani. Manage their playing time over the season. Logically Jones at 6 and LTimani at 8. Who else is there at 6/8?

      And who are the props?

      Just looked above and had forgotten Saffy. I’ve got a lot of time for him. Massive engine and strong tackler. He can sort of play all 3 backrow positions to an extent, so it may be you have Saffy, Fainga’a, LTimani and Jones rotating at 6-7-8, and the three locks rotating at 4-5. That gives the coaching staff time to work out combinations and the chance to manage playing time. If say Fainga’a has a niggle, Saffy starts at 7. If Pyle has a sore shoulder, STimani starts.

      Oh bugger just realised there’s one big name I’ve missed. Higginbotham!

      So now you have 8 good players covering those back 5 spots. That means one will miss out on the 22/3, with that probably starting as LTimani. Good position for the coaches to be in. Unless you go with two back reserves, which you can do if Kingi is one of them.

      • August 28th 2013 @ 10:26am
        jutsie said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:26am | ! Report

        higgy at 8. saffy also as cover for all back three possies. lots of depth in the back 5. L timani will struggle to get game time just like at the tahs

        • August 28th 2013 @ 10:29am
          jameswm said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:29am | ! Report

          yeah just edited it. Forgot Higgy. Back 5 looking good. Just need a front row and some backs…

          • August 28th 2013 @ 10:51am
            jutsie said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:51am | ! Report

            kingston, inman, woodward & english and stirzarker is a good 9 but yeah 10/12 is an issue hmmm i wonder who they had on their list previously that could fill one of those possies. also depth in the backline is an even bigger concern.

            • August 28th 2013 @ 11:22am
              jameswm said | August 28th 2013 @ 11:22am | ! Report

              Yeah I think Stirzaker has as much potential as any of our young halves. Kingston’s a good player. Woodward and English looked promising too. With Burgess, that means 9 and 13-15 are covered. Or I guess with Vuna at wing and Kingston at 13, it means you just need 10-12-13.

              Inman is ok but no more than that. Yeah, Beale-JOC in the 10-12 axis wouldn’t be bad.

              • August 28th 2013 @ 11:30am
                jutsie said | August 28th 2013 @ 11:30am | ! Report

                vuna is gone. not really fussed by that. Kimani suatai showed promise last year and is probably a better option in back 3.

        • Roar Guru

          August 28th 2013 @ 10:54am
          jeznez said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:54am | ! Report

          juts – I think Lopeti being discarded by the Tahs could be a mistake. He was looking massive in club footy – I caught the Southern Districts v Warringah match on the same day as the BIL second test and he was scary. Put some huge hits on in attack and defence.

          Contrary to the report above he isn’t 19 – he will be 23 next month. I think he will be coming into his own in the next season or two and could be a fine acquisition for your team.

          • August 28th 2013 @ 11:17am
            jutsie said | August 28th 2013 @ 11:17am | ! Report

            thats good the hear jez, then i think it might be saffy who misses out or possibly neville if they start with L timani and have jones on the bench. Nothing like a bit of healthy competition for spots.

    • August 28th 2013 @ 10:32am
      Rob9 said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:32am | ! Report

      Great news! It’s been a shame seeing so much talent head off overseas this year. Sure a lot might not be Wallaby starting XV standard but they’ve still got plenty to offer Australian Super Rugby teams. Now if only the French deals for Ioane, Mitchell, Palmer and Kimlin along with Barnes’ contract of Yen fell through. I’d argue that almost all of those blokes along with Timani would have Wallaby caps ahead of them if they stuck around.

      • August 28th 2013 @ 10:39am
        jameswm said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        I would love for Palmer and Kimlin’s deals to fall through. They’re the two I’d like to have back. And I’ll bet the Brumbies would too. God the Rebels could use a Dan Palmer.

    • August 28th 2013 @ 10:44am
      Roscoe said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:44am | ! Report

      Jameswm- Kingi has gone. Forwards looking good- backs not so sure. Hopefully Siatauti (good bloke and player!) will get more game time.

      • August 28th 2013 @ 11:23am
        jameswm said | August 28th 2013 @ 11:23am | ! Report

        Who are the props?

        Yeah back 3 looking ok, but you need someone good at 10-12. Couldn’t the Rebels find a good overseas player, a European or a Kiwi not in the the AB squad?

        • Roar Guru

          August 28th 2013 @ 2:02pm
          jeznez said | August 28th 2013 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

          Weekes is likely to hold down the TH position as long as he doesn’t suffer injury. Toby Smith is moving from the Chiefs and Max Lahiff from London Irish – believe both will be challenging for the LH spot.

          • August 28th 2013 @ 7:39pm
            Ben.S said | August 28th 2013 @ 7:39pm | ! Report

            I read the other day that Lahiff is playing ITM Cup ATM. Was a bit surprised by that.

            • Roar Guru

              August 29th 2013 @ 12:42am
              jeznez said | August 29th 2013 @ 12:42am | ! Report

              Is a massively better standard than Aussie club rugby so if his northern contract is finished is the ideal preparation down this end o the world.

            • August 29th 2013 @ 12:22pm
              atlas said | August 29th 2013 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

              yes he’s in the Hawke’s Bay front row with former Rebel Ged Robinson and AB Ben Franks (who is available for this Sunday’s game while no RC game played, but HD fullback Israel Dagg isn’t – only ten of the AB squad are playing games in the break, others get a week off)
              Hawke’s Bay challenge Otago for the Ranfurly Shield in Dunedin on Sunday and they’re expecting 20,000 (including just a few HB supporters!)

              ‘Although he prefers the loosehead propping role, Lahiff can play both sides of the scrum and said he won’t mind the tighthead role Magpies coach Craig Philpott wants him to focus on. He is confident his one season contract with the Magpies will provide ideal preparation for his two-year contract with the Rebels Super Rugby side in Australia.
              Through his father Lahiff is Australian qualified and the damaging ball carrier and defender who can bench press 205kg and squat 240kg has already been labelled a 2014 Wallaby by British rugby critics.’

    • August 28th 2013 @ 11:41am
      Hambone said | August 28th 2013 @ 11:41am | ! Report

      all well and good,
      but we be needing a hooker down south more than anything with ged returning across the ditch..
      this should be the rebels priority at the minute.
      he will be a massive loss with his work rate cut from across the park…

      • August 28th 2013 @ 12:24pm
        RebelRanger said | August 28th 2013 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

        Priorty is a quality 10 mate. Don’t we have a decent hooker from England?

        • August 28th 2013 @ 12:26pm
          jutsie said | August 28th 2013 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

          From ireland, tom sexton. havent really heard much about him.
          Hegarty has looked ok at 10 but i would like a more experienced 10 guiding him for a season or two. angus roberts didnt look great tbh

          • August 28th 2013 @ 1:43pm
            jameswm said | August 28th 2013 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

            I don’t rate Hegarty at all. He can’t pass properly to his right and falls off his passes.

            Really, do the Tahs need Beale AND Foley? Beale could play 15, but then you (hopefully) have Folau there.

            And I say this as a Tahs fan. I guess Foley could play 12 or Folau could play wing, but I really want to see Issy at the back.

            • August 28th 2013 @ 2:56pm
              jutsie said | August 28th 2013 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

              it wouldve been nice if foley had come over but then again id like to see him continue his development at the tahs. i hope he retains his position ahead of beale and same with folau at 15. honestly i dont know how beale will fit into the NSW backline.
              hegarty isnt great but he’s the best we got. I think the dumping of JOC was very disappointing the only plus from it is the money saved for a broke club.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 28th 2013 @ 12:26pm
        Boomeranga said | August 28th 2013 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

        duplicate of Jutsie

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