Naivalu pens new Rebels deal

The Melbourne Rebels have retained another stalwart with utility back Sefanaia Naivalu re-signing with the club until the end of 2019.

Naivalu, affectionately known as Super Sefa, has scored six tries in 19 appearances for the Rebels since his Super Rugby debut against the Crusaders in the opening round last year.

“Sefa has an exciting Rugby future ahead of him and is a critical part of the Rebels plans moving forward,” said Rebels head coach Tony McMahan.

“His electrifying pace and physical presence, synonymous with Fijian rugby, has quickly made him a Melbourne Rebels fan favourite.”

Melbourne Rebels General Manager Rugby Operations Baden Stephenson said: “we’re thrilled that Sefa has put his trust in the Rebels and the club’s coaching staff, led by Tony McGahan, to continue his Rugby career and happily call Melbourne home.”

The 24-year-old was recognised for his standout maiden season, in which he scored four tries in 13 games, when he was honoured with the Rugby Union Players’ Association Newcomer of the Year and Rebels Rookie of the Year awards.

The Fijian-born speedster moved to Melbourne in 2014 and has risen through the ranks of Victorian Rugby, initially with Box Hill Rugby Club and Melbourne Rising before signing with the Rebels and is now a member of the Wallabies extended squad.

Naivalu has scored two tries in six games this season after returning from a serious broken leg suffered against the Sharks in Round 16 last year.

“It’s a great honour to re-sign with the Rebels, the club has a good atmosphere, good staff and a good group of blokes so it’s exciting to play for the Rebels for the next few seasons,” he said.

“I want to keep improving in every game so working with Tony McGahan and Baden Stephenson are really helping me out with this opportunity, they know that I’m capable of playing good footy and I want to take it to another level for Australia.

“I’ve lived here for almost three years so I now call Melbourne home.”

Naivalu’s signature follows last week’s announcement that the Rebels have recruited league star and compatriot Marika Koroibete from next season.