Rebels sign Fijian scrumhalf Lomani

The Rebels have secured Fiji international Frank Lomani on a two-year deal with the club.

Lomani is the regular Test scrumhalf for Fiji and was also the NRC Player of the Year playing for the 2018 champions the Fijian Drua.

The 23-year-old’s signing is the strongest indicator yet that Will Genia could potentially be heading to Japan, having been linked to second division team Kintetstu.

Genia’s backup Michael Ruru has already departed the club for France while youngster Harrison Goddard is also on the books but has had little game time since coming into Super Rugby.

Lomani will be a familiar face at the Rebels – the no. 9 trained with the side as they battled a number of injuries in 2018, though he didn’t play a game for the side.

“Signing with the Melbourne Rebels is a dream come true for me,” he said.

“I’ve played against many of these guys before, so to line up alongside them will be special.

“I’m so happy to be part of a squad with so much talent. I’m looking forward to developing my game in a world class environment and picking up as much as I can from my new teammates.”

“To play alongside so many other internationals players and in the toughest Club competition in the world is quite exciting.”

Rebels pathways and professional rugby general manager Nick Ryan said Lomani had impressed in his trial last year and would be a handy asset for the side.

“Frank is a guy we’ve had our eye on for a while now, particularly after the way he dominated the NRC last season,” he said.

“We invited Frank down to Melbourne for a trial last season just to get a closer look at him. After seeing him on the field we were confident he would be a great addition to our squad.

“Spending so much time in the national squad has certainly fast tracked his development. There’s no doubt he will emerge as one of the bright stars at this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.”

“Our coaching staff is excited to continue Frank’s development and we look forward to seeing what he will bring to the squad in 2020,”

The news comes a day after the re-signing of rookie backrower Rob Leota, who became a regular part of the team this season.

“Everyone knows I’m from Melbourne and being able to stay here for two more years to do something I love is something I’m grateful for,” Leota said.

“To be around my family and to be able to play in front of them at AAMI Park every Friday night is awesome and something I’m looking forward to building on ahead of next year.”

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