Former Force prop and Wallabies development player Jermaine Ainsley is heading to the Rebels, the franchise announced on Friday.
Ainsley follows fellow front rowers Ben Daley and Tetera Faulkner in coming across to Melbourne for the 2018 season.
The 22-year-old’s signing was announced along with that of Sam Talakai, as reported by RUGBY.com.au earlier this week, with Ainsley on board for one year and Talakai committing until 2019.
New Zealand-born Ainsley had a breakout Super Rugby season this year, rewarded with involvement in the Wallabies squad, recently named as a development player ahead of their clash with the Barbarians.
Ainsley will also be working under former Force coach Dave Wessels at the Rebels, and is expected to be one of a number of players who are making the cross-country move.
“The Melbourne Rebels will provide me with the opportunity to further my career in a quality rugby program full of top players and coaches,” Ainsley said.
“I’ve got great belief in the vision of the club so I’m looking forward to being a part of an exciting new era for the Rebels.”
Wessels said Ainsley and Talakai would have a chance to show their wares in Melbourne in 2018.
“Sam and Jermaine are two young prop with bright futures and I expect them to prosper in our program and contribute to the successful future of the Melbourne Rebels,” Wessels said.
“Sam has established himself as a consistent performer and a natural leader with a very high skill set for a prop over the last couple of years with the Queensland Reds and Brisbane City.
“I’ve been really impressed by Jermaine’s enormous development over the last couple of years, which has been recognised with his first Wallabies selection, and I believe that he’s got a big future in Australian rugby.”
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