The first of Melbourne’s “Big Three” will make a well timed return to AAMI Park on Sunday because the Rebels tackle perennial rugby champions the Crusaders.
While Melbourne’s latest Super Rugby Pacific kind has been on the up, reinforcements the scale of Wallabies backrower Rob Leota will give the group a lift as they put together to host the inaugural Super Round.
Teams from Australia, New Zealand in addition to newcomers Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua will play off in seven-game schedule over three days beginning Friday.
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The Super W last between NSW and Fijiana Drua may also be performed on Saturday afternoon.
Leota in addition to injured Wallabies squad members lock Trevor Hosea (foot) and prop Pone Fa’amausili (calf) are but to play this season and have been sorely missed.
Together, the Melbourne-raised trio deliver round 360g to the pack.
While the latter two are nonetheless per week or two off, Leota has lastly overcome a hard hamstring to return.
“I was going to come back for round five and the week before I redid it and my time got pushed out to this round,” Leota advised AAP.
“Watching the struggle we had at the start was definitely tough to see because I think it has taken us a bit to get our game plan running but we’ve got two wins on the board now and we’re showing the real rugby that we want to play.”
After making his Test debut in opposition to South Africa final September, the 25-year-old racked up 4 caps which was one more reason why his delayed begin to the Super Rugby Pacific season was so irritating.
“I was definitely keen to get back – it was a really great year for myself and mostly unexpected,” Leota stated.
“I just had pure excitement in the growth I had playing for Australia so coming back and getting injured wasn’t ideal.
“I’m simply so eager to get on the market and play some footy.”
With COVID-19 impacting the early draw, the Crusaders are the first of the Kiwi contingent for the Rebels.
After 10 titles to their name the Christchurch-based outfit have won their last five matches against Melbourne by an average margin of 44 points.
The Rebels aren’t alone with the Crusaders winning 24 of their last 25 clashes with Australian teams.
Leota said Melbourne, as hosts of Super Round, would be eager to put on a good show.
“The Crusaders are at all times an enormous problem however it’s fairly straightforward to stand up for,” he stated.
“We’ve acquired a little bit of an underdog mentality however we’re additionally excited and we have we acquired numerous confidence in ourselves and what we have been constructing.
“Super Round is a massive thing for rugby in Victoria as we try to grow the game and getting a good result against a well-respected Kiwi team will do a lot.”