Rebels grant James Hanson early release

The Melbourne Rebels have accepted a request from Gloucester Rugby Club to grant hooker James Hanson an early release from his Super Rugby contract.

The 29-year-old, who initially joined Gloucester on a short term contract in September, will complete a permanent transfer to the English Premiership Rugby club with the blessing of the Rebels, effective immediately.

Hanson made 29 Super Rugby appearances for the Rebels, including a try against the Bulls, after he joined the club ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby season.

“We would like to acknowledge and thank James for his significant contribution to the Rebels and Victorian rugby, as an original Rebel in 2007, he will hold a significant place in the club’s history,” Melbourne Rebels General Manager Professional Rugby & Pathways Nick Ryan said.

“James’ quality, experience and leadership will be a loss for Australian rugby but he will always be a member of the Rebels family and we wish him all the best for the next stage of his career with Gloucester.”

The hooker, capped 12 times by the Wallabies, has made 111 Super Rugby appearances in a career that spanned eight years with the Queensland Reds and Rebels.

“Thank you to the Rebels staff, volunteers, members and fans who have had an positive influence on me during my stint with the club. Most of all thank the guys I played and trained alongside for making it a memorable few years.

“After taking everything into consideration the opportunity to play overseas at this stage of my career was the best decision for myself and my wife.

“I wish the Rebels all the best for the future.”

The Melbourne Rebels will finalise the 2018 Super Rugby squad in due course.

The Melbourne Rebels will kick-off its 2018 Super Rugby campaign at home against the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on Friday 23 February from 7.30pm (AEDT).

Join the Rebel Army for the 2018 Super Rugby with memberships now on sale from as little as $88 for an adult, $35 for children and $218 for a family of four for all eight home games.