Melbourne Rebels captain Rob Leota wants statement season from embattled club


“I don’t take that lightly because it’s very proud for me to see younger Victorians coming through the pathways, and there are guys of 19 and 20 that are coming through now who are just like me when I came in.

“It’s awesome to be able to see younger players keep coming through, there are even guys that are starting rugby now that are six, seven and eight years old [in Victoria] that are going to continue playing.”

Rugby Australia and Rebels bosses assured fans the embattled club will take the field this season – but both fell short of making solid commitments beyond 2024.

RA chief executive Phil Waugh and Rebels counterpart Baden Stephenson confirmed in a statement on Tuesday the Super Rugby club had entered voluntary administration.

Speaking to this masthead, Waugh said RA will work closely with the Melbourne club to explore all options during the voluntary administration period.

“We will be working closely with the Rebels’ administrator PwC, and with our advisors Deloitte, to have really constructive conversations to ensure we deliver 2024 as effectively and as efficiently as we can,” Waugh said. “And then looking forward, we will work diligently to explore what’s the most appropriate structure into 2025 and beyond [for the Rebels]”

RA will pay staff and players this season and the club’s licence will be transferred to the governing body. The club is millions of dollars in debt.

The timeline of the voluntary administration process is uncertain, with both the Rebels and RA remaining in limbo until PwC conducts its full process and report.

Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh.Credit: Getty

In the statement released on Tuesday, Waugh said: “RA is committed to ensuring the Melbourne Rebels play in the 2024 Super Rugby competitions, and we will support their preparation for the new season.”

In a separate statement emailed by the Rebels to fans, shortly before RA’s statement, Waugh expressed regret at the situation.

“We are sad to see the Melbourne Rebels fall into administration under its current owner, Rugby Victoria,” Waugh said.

“RA is committed to ensuring the Melbourne Rebels play in the 2024 Super Rugby competitions and, as such, we have assumed responsibility for payment to players and staff as we support their preparation for the new season.”

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Stephenson did not make any long-term commitments in his statement.

“Our focus as an organisation is to ensure we can deliver the 2024 season, perform well in the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific and Super Rugby Women’s competitions, and to position our club in the best possible way for the future,” he said.

Although the Rebels’ future is uncertain, they remain officially penciled in as part of the 2025 British and Irish Lions tour, with a fixture on July 22 at Marvel Stadium.

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