South African Saffy joins Rebels for Super15

The Melbourne Rebels have pulled off a massive coup by signing South African-born St George Illawarra enforcer Jarrod Saffy from rugby league.

 

The Melbourne Rebels will join an expanded Super 15 tournament which kicks on in 2011.

 

The 25-year-old South African Saffy has sealed a lucrative three-year rugby union deal that begins in October 2010 at the conclusion of the NRL season.


“I’m not going to lie to you – he’s coming,” said Rebels CEO Waldron, who also left the NRL for Super 15, switching from his role as Melbourne Storm chief executive officer.


“We sounded him out. We’ve had genuine interest in him and he’s a player of great potential.” he told Foxsports.


“He’s a player with a solid rugby background and someone who we think will be a great asset to the Rebels on and off the field.


“We’ve always said we were interested in NRL players with strong rugby backgrounds and he’s a former junior representative.


“I think he’s spoken with Wayne (Bennett) and he knows it’s just a matter of working out a few things for him internally.”


Saffy declined to comment on the move but will be the first forward to switch codes since 2000 when Brisbane Broncos player Peter Ryan shifted to rugby union.


Saffy has represented Australia in the national Sevens team in Hong Kong, where he was played with Super 14 stars Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Hewat, Richard Brown and Ben Mowen.


He is expected to play No.7 or No.8 for the Rebels.

 

Saffy was born in Cape Town, South Africa and arrived in Australia as a 15 year old and continued playing rugby union at St Joseph’s, Hunters Hill.

 

He represented the Australian Schoolboys, Australian under 21s and the Australian Sevens in rugby union as well as spending some time playing for the NSW Waratahs Academy and Sydney University Football Club.

 

Saffy switched to rugby league to progress faster and made his debut in first grade in rugby league in the final round 26 match of 2006 for the Wests Tigers.

 

He made eight first grade appearances for the Tigers in 2007. Saffy plays rugby league at second-row and also at prop-forward.

 

According to sources he is eligible to represent Lebanon as well as his native South Africa and he is also eligible to represent Australia.

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