Rebels and Sunwolves unveil Ganbatte Trophy

The Melbourne Rebels relationship with Japanese Rugby will be preserved with the introduction of the Ganbatte Trophy ahead of the club’s first game against the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday.

The perpetual trophy will mark the historic occasion now, and for future matches between our clubs.

“We feel that this initiative will further strengthen our relationship and will provide a strong reference point of what all players from both sides should strive for in the future,” Rebels General Manager Rugby Operations Baden Stephenson said.

The Rebels, the first Australian team to contract a Japanese international, have enjoyed an extremely strong relationship with Japanese Rugby over recent years with Horie, Male Sau, Keita Inagaki and Kotaro Matsushima all representing the club.

Horie became the first Japanese player to play for an Australian Super Rugby team when he joined the Rebels in 2013, where he made 18 appearances in two years and quickly became a fan favourite. In 2014 Shota was awarded the Melbourne Rebels ‘Peoples Choice’ award which was testament to his popularity on and off the field.

The 30-year-old hooker was appointed the Sunwolves captain for their maiden season in 2016 and scored the club’s first try against the Lions in the opening round of the Asteron Life Super Rugby season.

The Rebels recently made history by becoming Australia’s first professional sports team to launch a Japanese language website and last week announced a new partnership with leading Japanese heavy vehicle manufacture Fuso.

The Rebels will become the first Australasian team to contest Super Rugby against the Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday at 1.15pm (JST) / 3.15 (AEDT).