Wallaby and three-time Super Rugby champion Radike Samo will join the Rebels for the 2015 Super Rugby season.
Samo, who moves to Melbourne from Kinetsu Liners in the Japanese Top League, has made 23 appearances for the Wallabies, and was part of the squad which finished third at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Speaking prior to moving to Melbourne, Samo said he was excited to join Tony McGahan’s group and have “one final crack at Super Rugby.”
“Watching from Japan, it is clear that the Rebels are working really hard to build a competitive and professional Rugby team,” he said.
“Everybody I spoke to had no hesitation in recommending that I sign for the Rebels, and I am really looking forward to joining in with Tony McGahan and the young and exciting squad he has assembled.
“I am very keen to give Super Rugby one last shot and I feel I have a lot to offer; I am really excited about coming to Melbourne. I’m also very grateful for the opportunity to join the Victorian Rugby community; there’s a big Pacific Islander Rugby family in Melbourne, and I’m looking forward to becoming part of that.”
McGahan said Samo’s experience and playing ability would be hugely beneficial for the Rebels in 2015.
“Radike has been a strong contributor to every environment he has been within, with a majority of those environments being winning squads,” said McGahan.
“Someone of Radike’s experience, who has enjoyed as much success as he has, will obviously be a fantastic addition to this young playing roster on and off the field.”
Predominantly utilised in the back row, but also capable of playing as a lock, Samo will look to add to the 64 Super Rugby appearances he has made with the Brumbies (2001-2006) and Reds (2010-2013). During that time, Samo won the Super Rugby competition twice with the Brumbies, in 2001 and in 2004, and again won alongside new Rebels teammates and fellow Wallabies Mike Harris, Scott Higginbotham and Dom Shipperley at the Reds in 2011.
Samo also hoisted the Top 14 title during two years in France with Stade Francais (2006-2007), and played for former Japanese Top League side Yokogawa Musashino Atlastars from 2007-2010. Radike scored tries in games either side of Christmas in 2014, as his second season with Kinetsu Liners came to an end last weekend.
Samo will arrive in Melbourne later this month.