BY AUBREY HAMLETT
01 March 2012
This article originally appeared in upstart Magazine
The Melbourne Rebels are about to embark on their second Super Rugby season. Aubrey Hamlett speaks to up and coming player Luke Jones, to see how the Rebels are building on the lessons they learnt from their inaugural season.
The 20-year-old up and comer says the Rebels are building on what they learnt in their inaugural Super Rugby season in 2011.
The Melbourne Rebels had a tough induction into Super Rugby in 2011. They were thumped in their first Super Rugby match by the Waratahs 43-0. The Rebels finished the season on the bottom of the Australian conference with just three wins.
Jones’ attraction to playing for the Melbourne Rebels was about starting at a new club, culture and being able to play with some of the best international players such as Rebels Co-Vice Captain Gareth Delve.
‘[Gareth] is probably my mentor in the team and has taken me under his wing,’ he says.
Making his debut in 2010 with Perth’s Western Force as a schoolboy, Jones has only three Super Rugby caps under his belt. However he has played in all three trial matches during this year’s pre-season for the Rebels.
Jones is looking to make a bigger impact this year for the Rebels, playing as a blindside flanker in the Rebels’ scrum.
‘I just want to keep knocking on the door and pushing my place in the team,’ he says.
He won’t be the only one trying to make a bigger impact in the Rebels this year. New star recruits and Wallabies, James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale have both signed with the newest Super Rugby franchise.
‘We have recruited very well, I think we couldn’t have asked for a better backline, and [our] forward pack is always going be strong if we keep building what we’ve got,’ Jones says.
O’Connor and Beale have also debuted for their new team, both playing crucial roles in each of the three pre season trial matches.
O’Connor’s kicking abilities at penalties takes some of the pressure off other international Rebels star, flyhalf Danny Cipriani.
Beale has given Rebels fans something to cheer about as his ability to read the play in the Rebels back line during the Auckland trial, helped them get some points on the score board.
Jones says the Rebels are aiming to challenge more teams in their upcoming season, especially when they meet the Waratahs in round two after their round one bye.
Jones is especially looking forward to the Rebels hosting the Waratahs this week. Originally from Sydney, Jones grew up wanting to play for the NSW team.
“Now that I play for the rebels I would love to play [against] the Waratahs and put it to them,” he says.
With new coach Damien Hill, new star recruits in Beale and O’Connor the Melbourne Rebels are certainly building on all the tough lessons learnt in 2011 to have more success in 2012.
The Melbourne Rebels host the NSW Waratahs this Friday night, March 2 at AAMI Park.