Rebels sign 19-year-old centre
Australian Under 20s centre Lalakai Foketi has signed as a full-time Member of the Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby squad.
The former Australian Schoolboys team member won a contract with the Super Rugby franchise after impressing coach Tony McGahan. 19-year-old Lalakai has been added as a supplementary squad member.
He played for Australia at the IRB Junior Rugby World Championship in 2013.
"Lalakai has been a great addition to our club and playing group here in Melbourne," said McGahan said.
"He has, through his attitude and ability to seek improvement, gained the respect of his teammates.
"I look forward to watching him grow as a full-time member of the squad, and I'm sure he will be ready for any opportunities that do come his way."
For Foketi, the chance to move to Melbourne is an opportunity he is thrilled to receive, and he is looking forward to challenging himself in the new environment.
"I am super excited, and there is nowhere else I would rather be," he says.
"Coming down here I was a bit nervous, but the boys have involved me in everything and it is kind of like a family here - it's awesome.
"Eventually, getting into the main squad and maybe even pushing for the bench in a couple of games would be great. I really want to feature in the National Rugby Championships if possible, and hopefully I can secure a full contract if I work hard over the course of the season."
Having some familiar faces at the Club has also helped Lalakai settle into his fresh surroundings.
"Ben Meehan has taken me under his wing and I'll be living with him which is great, as we played together at the Junior World Cup. I also know guys like Jordy, Cadeyrn and Pat from Manly, and they've been really helpful also."