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'That next level': Rebels prop Gibbon eyeing Rugby World Cup berth

By AAP
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

There’s no place like home for Melbourne prop Matt Gibbon, although his rugby aspirations stretch much further than AAMI Park.

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Gibbon has re-signed with the Rebels and Rugby Australia through to the end of 2025, saying he wanted to raise his newborn daughter Pippa in Melbourne.

“It’s almost five years now and I’d rather be happy where I am, raising the little one and playing with the coaches and team I’d always loved to play with, so I’m really excited to have another two years here,” Gibbon said on Tuesday.

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He felt the Rebels, who last week announced the signing of superstar Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou, were building a world-class pack.

“Yes, obviously with the signing of Nela (Tupou) – it helps having a general manager (ex-Test prop Nick Stiles) who was a front rower, who is really investing in the front-row and our pack,” Gibbon said.

“It gives us a lot of confidence that that’s where we will be strong.”

Gibbon will play his 50th Super Rugby match in the Super Round in Melbourne this weekend, when all 12 teams are in the city for three double-headers over three days.

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The Rebels are up on Friday night against the Hurricanes, who scored four second-half tries in a 47-13 victory over the Queensland Reds in their season-opener last week.

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Melbourne started with a bang against the Western Force but fell away in the second half to go down 34-27.

Gibbon said the Rebels forwards would have to be at their best to match the likes of All Blacks backrow ace Ardie Savea.

“Their forwards are incredibly strong and we’re really looking forwards to this one,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ve actually ever beaten the Hurricanes since I’ve been at the Rebels so I’ve got 50 caps this weekend and it would be lovely to get one up on those boys.

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“We definitely have some things to fix up on the weekend.”

As well as righting the Rebels’ season, Gibbon is looking to add to his five Test caps after making his debut last year against Argentina in Mendoza.

The 27-year-old is desperate to be a part of Eddie Jones’s Wallabies’ World Cup campaign, with his chances opening up following serious injuries to other looseheads including Angus Bell and Harry Hoopert.

“The World Cup has always been my dream, it’s just that next level,” Gibbon said.

“Now that I’m a Wallaby I want to get more caps and actually be known as a Wallaby.

‘I never want to be just a couple of caps here and there, I want to be in that team so I’m very excited for that World Cup.”

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