The Rebels’ pre-season schedule is set with the team announcing they will face Manu Samoa in a trial match at AAMI Park and a trip across the ditch to test their skills against the Blues.
It will be the first time that the Rebels have played Samoa, whose reputation for fast paced intensity will be the perfect preparation for the 2016 Super Rugby season.
Rebels foundation player Laurie Weeks is looking forward to the clash.
“After a long pre-season it’s always exciting to have your first home hit out and put all of that training and hard work into practice,” he said.
“Samoan rugby has a proud history and I’m expecting this game to be a challenge, they are big, fast and extremely physical in their playing style.”
The Rebels v Samoa trial match may also be the cause of a little tension with allegiances tested off the field.
“The Rebels fans are pretty passionate but then so is the Samoan rugby community. There might be a few fans caught between supporting us and national pride. Let’s hope the Rebels fans don’t get drowned out by cheers for the opposition.”
Rebels Managing Director, Andrew Cox said it was a great opportunity to reward members for their support with all 2016 ticketed members given free entry to the game.
“Our membership number is growing with 5000 already signed up and the club on track to reach our target of 8000. The passionate support of the rugby community is paramount to our success and we wanted to say thank you to those loyal members and give them even more great rugby experiences in 2016.
“For the faithful fan this is your first chance to see the Rebels in action for the year and for newcomers to the game it’s all about experiencing the excitement of international rugby right here in Melbourne.”
For Weeks and fellow players Cruze Ah Nau, Pat Leafa, Siliva Siliva and new homegrown recruit Rob Leota the game holds particular resonance with their own cultural heritage and a chance to acknowledge the importance of the Samoan community in Victoria.
Melbourne local Siliva is a firm favourite with young club players who hope to one day realise their own professional rugby dreams.
“I grew up with the game at Endeavour Hills and am fortunate to be able to play professional rugby here in Melbourne in front of my family. The local club is not just about playing rugby but it’s a place where the community comes together.”