Rebels add to squad depth

The Melbourne Rebels have bolstered their squad with the addition of backrower Jake Schatz and centre Dennis Pili-Gaitau on the eve of the 2017 Super Rugby season.

The experienced pair have been immediately called into the Rebels squad as cover for the injured Sean McMahon (ankle) and Pama Fou (knee).

Schatz, capped twice by the Wallabies in 2014, brings 86 games of Super Rugby experience to the club after seven seasons with the Queensland Reds.

The 26-year-old will add depth to the Rebels backrow with McMahon expected to be unavailable for the first few weeks of the 2017 Super Rugby season following ankle surgery on an injury sustained during The Rugby Championship.

Pili-Gaitau, a former Blues development squad member and North Harbour player, joins the club after two seasons with the Sydney Rays in 2015-16 National Rugby Championship and Shute Shield’s Manly Marlins, Reece Hodge’s former Sydney club.

The centre fills the void in the backline after it was confirmed that Fou will miss the 2017 Super Rugby season after he ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) at training last week.

“The inclusion of Jake and Dennis will provide the squad with additional cover and depth as we ramp up our preparations for 2017 with trial matches against the Force and Reds over the next two weeks,” Melbourne Rebels General Manager Rugby Baden Stephenson said.

The Melbourne Rebels return to action in February with two trial matches against the Force (6 February) and Reds (14 February), along with the much anticipated Brisbane Global Rugby Tens (11-12 February.

The Rebels will kick off the 2017 Super Rugby season against the Blues at AAMI Park on Thursday 23 February. Melbourne Rebels membership and single game ticket packages are available from melbournerebels.com.