NZ prospect pens Rebels deal
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: The Melbourne Rebels have been boosted with the signature of New Zealand rising star Jackson Garden-Bachop for the 2017 Super Rugby season.
The 22-year-old playmaker, son of former All Black Stephen Bachop, and nephew of Graeme Bachop, has signed his first Super Rugby contract which is a two-year deal with the Melbourne franchise.
Garden-Bachop made 11 appearances and scored two tries for the Wellington Lions in the New Zealand NPC 2016 season on the way to being named the 2016 Lions Supporters Club player of the season.
The versatile flyhalf, who’s capable of playing at inside centre and fullback, etched his name in Wellington’s record books when he slotted seven penalties to down North Harbour and made himself a fan favourite when he kicked a 45-metre penalty after full-time to beat Counties Manukau this season.
The Wellington junior and Hurricanes product is a former New Zealand Schoolboy in 2012 and New Zealand Under-20 representative in 2014.
Garden-Bachop joined an illustrious group of winners, include Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Lima Sopoaga and Julian Savea when he was named Wellington College Sport’s Rugby Player of the Year in 2012.
The signature of the rising star continues the franchise's ability to recruit quality New Zealand talent. In recent years this has included Tamati Ellison, Adam Thomson, Scott Fuglistaller, Pat Leafa, Jason Woodward and Toby Smith.
Commenting on his decision to move to Australia Garden-Bachop said: "I’m excited to sign my first Super Rugby contract, it’s been a goal of mine for the last four of years since I left school to take the next step so I’m very happy that Melbourne has given me the opportunity.
"I’m definitely ready to give Super Rugby a crack, train full-time and learn from some really good players and top quality coaches so I’m focused on getting to Melbourne and putting in some good work with the Rebels,"
One man really excited about the 38-man squad 2017 inclusion of Garden-Bachop is Melbourne Rebels head coach Tony McGahan.
"We have been watching Jackson for some time and we have been very impressed with his temperament, consistency of core skills and hunger to compete,"
Melbourne Rebels squad:
Cruze Ah-Nau, Steve Cummins, Dominic Day, Jack Debreczeni, Tom English, Colby Fainga’a, Pama Fou , Harley Fox, Jackson Garden-Bachop , James Hanson, Reece Hodge, Mitch Inman, Sam Jeffries, Marika Koroibete , Pat Leafa, Rob Leota, Tyrel Lomax , Jack McGregor , Sean McMahon, Jack Maddocks , Amanaki Mafi , Ben Meehan, Tim Metcher, Tom Moloney, Sefa Naivalu, Jonah Placid, Jordy Reid, Culum Retallick, Dominic Shipperley, Siliva Siliva, Toby Smith, Mick Snowden, Nic Stirzaker, Lopeti Timani, Alex Toolis , Sione Tuipulotu, Jordan Uelese, Laurie Weeks.