Rebels snap up duo
Gerrard and Blake join new franchise
Last Updated: 09/06/10 10:01am
Gerrard: Return to Super rugby
New outfit Melbourne Rebels have recruited former Australia internationals Mark Gerrard and Rodney Blake ahead of the inaugural Super 15 season.
Gerrard has amassed 79 Super rugby caps for the Waratahs and Brumbies since making his debut in 2002.
The full-back, who is third on the Brumbies' all-time points scoring list, moves back to Australia after a spell with Japanese club NTT Communications.
The 28-year-old said he was looking forward to the unique opportunity of building the foundations of a franchise.
"This is a rare chance to be a part of building something from scratch," he said.
"I'm honoured to be part of the foundation team and am particularly looking forward to helping grow the game of rugby in Victoria."
Rebels assistant coach Damien Hill is delighted that the new boys have been able to acquire such proven quality.
He added: "Mark has invaluable Super rugby experience and brings with him insight and understanding of the culture we are building at the Melbourne Rebels."
Blake will also be making a return to Super rugby after spending two years in France with Bayonne.
Rebels forwards coach Mark Bakewell thinks that the massive former Queensland Reds prop will be looking to make an impression next season.
"From his experience, Rodney returns to Australia with a broader range of skills as well as the desire to be the best player in his position in the country," Bakewell said.
"We believe he can exceed the expectations put on him before he left for France and become a major asset for the Rebels and Australian rugby."