Rebels coach Tony McGahan says star recruit Marika Koroibete will definitely be in Test consideration when he arrives at his new club in 2017.
The Melbourne Rebels confirmed the signing of the NRL winger on Thursday morning, bringing some extra firepower to their attack.
McGahan said the Rebels were one of a number of clubs in contention for the flyer, but if he wasn’t considering national duty he would likely have committed to his current code.
“There wouldn’t have been a deal without ARU. They were the first port of call and they would’ve gone around to a few of the clubs and we were one of the suitors,’ he said.
“We were lucky enough that with Koroibete living in Melbourne and that and a lot of things matched up with our needs.”
“The driving factor is the player has to want to play rugby union and I think discussions that were previous to us and during the negotiations were that he a) wanted to play rugby, return to rugby and have an opportunity to play for the Wallabies and all those little areas around that add to the situation.”
The addition of a big name star is something the fledgling Super Rugby franchise could only have imagined when they first started, a development of which McGahan is only too aware.
“When I first came down to ring players to ask them if they want to come to the club and they didn’t want to talk to us,” he said.
“To get a number of inquiries about coming to the club and sign a quality player is always good for the club and good for our fans and each year we’re aiming to get better.”
One of the Rebels who will feel the heat when Koroibete joins the club is returning winger, Tom English.
English is set to take his spot in the starting line-up for the first time in almost eight weeks, after injuring his knee, and said he welcomed the competition the cross-code star would feel.
“It means we’ll be having more running races in pre-season,” he joked.
“It’s good for us as a club, obviously. If you’ve been watching league he’s a talented player.
“The more talented players we can get to the club it’s going to drive each other’s performance.
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“I really look forward to him getting here and we’ll see what he’s got.”
The 25-year-old said the kicking game would likely present the greatest challenge for his future teammate.
“It depends how we’re going to play him,” he said.
“He’s got to adjust to kicking roles and reading the back field because in rugby league they only kick once in a set. In rugby union you can kick on any phase
“That’s probably going to be his main adjustment is realising his positioning as a back field player and really working on his kicking game.
“Other than that he’s got the running game down pat, we’ve seen that, he’s a really exciting, attacking player.”