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Exclusive: Rebels nab Eddie Jones-capped England halfback as signing spree continues

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4th July, 2023
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The Melbourne Rebels have landed another international scalp, signing one-Test England halfback Jack Maunder to continue the franchise’s year of big acquisitions.

The 26-year-old, who was capped by Eddie Jones in 2017 and was called into the English set up in 2020, is set to sign a one-year deal, The Roar understands.

With the English Premiership in upheaval following the dramatic demise of Wasps, Worcester and, most recently, London Irish, there are an abundance of players on the market with few homes to go to.

Former Exeter Chiefs halfback Jack Maunder is set to sign a one-year deal with the Melbourne Rebels. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Ping the Rebels, who have for months been on the hunt for a third halfback to join Ryan Louwrens and James Tuttle at the franchise following Moses Sorovi’s departure.

The Rebels will get a player who is hungry for a chance to spread his wings but also someone whose core skills, particularly their kicking and ability to help control the tempo of a game, are of high standard.

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What’s more, the Devon product is a winner.

He started in the No.9 jersey during Exeter’s win over Racing 92 in the European Champions Cup final in 2020 as well as their tense triumph over Wasps in the English Premiership final in that same year.

While Maunder barely featured during Jones’ seven-year tenure as England coach, the Australian called him up to start alongside Quade Cooper during the Barbarians’ win over Steve Hansen’s World XV in May at Twickenham.

Quade Cooper, Jack Maunder and Samu Kerevi celebrate with the Killik Cup after defeating a World XV side at Twickenham on May 28, 2023 in London. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians)

The exhibition match allowed Maunder, who kicked the leather off the ball in much the same way Nic White did during his time at the Chiefs, to show off his skill set with a licence to throw alongside Cooper.

“I only hit one box kick today. I think I have been averaging 50 a game,” Maunder told Devon Live in June.

“All the boys were telling me to kick it because no one could suck in any more air but I thought ‘Surely not, c’mon lads I have just spent the whole season box kicking.’

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“I loved it. That is one of the most enjoyable games I have ever had, doing stuff that I would never normally do and finding myself in spaces I don’t normally go. I found myself on the wing at one point. Just stuff like that.”

Maunder said the experience was made all the better by playing alongside Cooper, who spent the 2019 season with the Rebels.

“It was really interesting speaking to the lads about different philosophies on the game,” he said.

“I spent a lot of time with Quade in training and just how he sees the game, how amazing and how smart he is.

“Just little things throughout the game, he was telling me if you do this, this and this you will get a break and it literally happened.

“I was like ‘Oh my god.’

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“It is definitely something I am going to take away from the week, that I can look at how rugby is played a bit differently than I have done from the start of my career.”

Former All Blacks centre Matt Proctor’s signing with the Rebels was confirmed last month. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Maunder is the latest international to sign with the Rebels, with Stiles recently recruiting former All Blacks midfielder Matt Proctor from Northampton Saints.

He was the second Saints player to sign with the Rebels in as many months, with Wallaby Lukhan Salakaia-Loto also jumping on board after Taniela Tupou’s big-name defection to the Stockade in February.

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