Melbourne Rebels sign highly-touted teenage duo for 2022 Super Rugby
The exciting pair have committed to the Rebels until at least the end of 2023, bolstering Melbourne’s strong core of young talent.
“It’s awesome to have two highly sought-after, talented young players like Lukas and Zac commit to the Rebels and want to be part of the connected culture we’re building in Melbourne,” Melbourne Rebels general manager Nick Stiles said.
“Zac is an excellent back rower with a vast array of skills and in-game awareness, while Lukas possesses an outstanding work rate with a strong touch pass ability, which we were targeting at the centre position.
“We’re really pleased with the balance we’ve developed with our core squad, so to add to the calibre of this talent underneath, ready to come through over the next two to three years, it’s going to put us in a great position to create sustainable, long-term success for the Rebels and for Victorian rugby.”
At just 19-years-old, Ripley is regarded as one of the most exciting young centres in Australian rugby following two impressive campaigns with The University of Queensland and Souths in Queensland’s Premier Grade, after a dominant final year of First XV’s with the prestigious Brisbane Boys College.
The Mackay-born prodigy joins Melbourne having gained two season’s worth of valuable professional experience as a Queensland Reds academy member.
The powerful runner also won selection in this year’s opening Junior Wallabies squad, joining current Rebels Josh Canham, Glen Vaihu, Ngalu Kavapalu, Lolesio Sione, Taliu Tuia, and brothers Mason and Carter Gordon, who have all been selected in the esteemed national program over the course of the season.
Ripley credited the Rebels strong family orientated culture as being the key driver behind his commitment.
“I’m really excited to be joining such a fantastic club as the Melbourne Rebels, and meet my new teammates and rip in,” Ripley said.
“What really stood out to me was how welcoming and supportive the club was, and just how family orientated the staff were who spoke to me – I can’t wait to get started.”
Joining Ripley in Melbourne is electrifying forward, Zach Hough, who is considered the best prospect in schoolboy rugby in Queensland.
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Currently in his third season of First XV’s at Brisbane Boys’ College, Hough is a dynamic flanker possessing a ferocious appetite for contact, with an inherent ability to break opposition lines.
Hough joins the Rebels sporting a winning pedigree, having recently led Brisbane Boys’ College to a remarkable outright GPS Rugby Premiership in 2020, leading to the 18-year-old being selected in a merit World XV schoolboy team.
The strongly built back-rower said he’s excited to reconnect with former Brisbane Boys’ College teammate Mason Gordon and kick-off his Super Rugby career in the sporting capital of the world.
“I’m ecstatic to be joining the Rebels and grateful for this wonderful opportunity to showcase the person and player I am,” said Hough.
“One of the key drivers for joining the club was the opportunity to come down and train with such an elite program, in a lush city like Melbourne.
“There’s a few familiar faces at the Rebels that I’ve already played with or against, so that’s going to be great for our team cohesion and I can’t wait to get started.”
– Melbourne Rebels
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