England's Parling joins under-threat Melbourne Rebels

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 04:51
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NEWS: England lock Geoff Parling has signed to play for the Melbourne Rebels in 2018, the team said Tuesday, even though they are one of two Australian Super Rugby franchises facing the axe.

The 32-Test veteran has just won the English Premiership trophy with Exeter Chiefs.

"Geoff's signing is a strategic recruitment for the team as we look to evolve our squad and programme for 2018 and beyond," said Melbourne Rebels Chief Executive Baden Stephenson.

"Geoff boasts a wealth of international and domestic experience ... so he will contribute to the strong leadership at the team, along with his world class line-out skills and hard running qualities which will complement our squad."

Stephenson did not mention fears that the Rebels will be cut from next season's Super Rugby tournament.

All five Australian franchises are struggling and either the Rebels or the Western Force are expected to be culled when the competition reverts to 15 teams next season from the current 18.   

The Australian Rugby Union last week promised to honour players' contracts if their side is axed, but conceded legal difficulties could force them to keep all five sides.

The board lifted a moratorium on Super contracts and offered assurances to players for the two clubs who are in limbo over their futures.

Parling played for the Newcastle Falcons and Leicester Tigers before moving to Exeter in 2015.

The 199-centimetre and 117-kilogram lock debuted for England in 2012 and toured Australia with the British and Irish Lions in 2013.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to test myself in the Southern Hemisphere that Super Rugby brings," Parling said in a statement.

"Hopefully I can add value to the Rebels, and help the team continue the great growth and profile of rugby in Victoria."

He will join the team in January 2018.

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
SUPER RUGBY
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28