Rebels add three to their Super Rugby EPS squad

Dan Hawkins of Northland joins the Rebels

Melbourne Super Rugby franchise the Rebels have added three new players to their Extended Playing Squad (EPS) for the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Harley Fox, Dan Hawkins and Mick Snowden will all move to Melbourne, as Tony McGahan’s team for the upcoming campaign nears completion.

2014 Australian Schoolboys Captain Fox, a powerful Number Eight who also played for the Queensland U20s in 2015, will provide competition in the back row. 23 year old playmaker Hawkins will move across the Tasman after recently concluding his ITM Cup season with Northland, while scrumhalf Snowden relocates from Sydney after also taking in stints in Perth and Hamilton (NZ) in recent years.

Melbourne Rebels Head Coach Tony McGahan said that the Club’s recruitment and retention plans were well on track.

“Throughout our recruitment process, (General Manager of Rugby) Baden Stephenson and I have been looking to deliver a more balanced profile in the playing group,” McGahan said. “We think the addition of Harley, Dan and Mick gives us the right mix of youth, variety and Club experience to continue the Melbourne Rebels competitive edge into the the 2016 season.”

Harley Fox is a mobile eighteen year old Fox attended Brisbane’s famed Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie), and will look to follow in the footsteps of fellow alumni David Pocock and Quade Cooper in making it to the highest echelons of the sport.

Fox made the move down to Melbourne over two months ago, and has been working hard with the Rebels’ Performance staff as he adjusts to the physical requirements of the Rebels’ Rugby program.

“I thought coming to Melbourne represented a great opportunity to better myself as a football player,” he said. “I am really excited to work with fellow back rowers such as Sean McMahon, Scott Fuglistaller and Adam Thomson. The Rebels’ back row competition is really strong, and to learn off all of them will be great.

“I’m also looking forward to working closely with Tony McGahan. I had my first encounter with Tony when I was sixteen and he took charge of a coaching session I was involved in, and he seemed like a really knowledgeable coach who is able to get the best out of people; obviously that’s a major attraction.”

Meanwhile Dan Hawkins made his first ITM Cup appearance for Tasman in 2011, before moving to Northland where he has scored more than 200 points in 30 appearances.

Dan is effective playing at either fullback or flyhalf and is a capable goal kicker, he won’t be the first member of his family to play Rugby in Melbourne.

“My Mum is from Melbourne and my Dad actually met her in Melbourne while he was playing with Power House Rugby Club,” Hawkins said. “It’s an honour to have the opportunity to move to Melbourne and play Rugby.

“I’ve watched the Rebels play a lot in the last year and I believe the Club is on the up, and to train and play alongside Tamati Ellison in the backline is something that really appeals to me.

I have also seen a number of young players developing strongly in the backline in recent seasons and I’m looking forward to learning off all of them.”

Mick Snowden is an experienced scrumhalf Snowden will compete with Ben Meehan and Nic Stirzaker for the number nine jersey at the Rebels.

He made his Super Rugby debut with the Western Force in 2012, before a stint in New Zealand’s ITM Cup with Waikato in 2013, and a return to Australian professional Rugby with the NSW County Eagles in the inaugural Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC).

Further to that, he has starred for Eastwood in Sydney’s Shute Shield competition in recent seasons, playing a pivotal role in their 2014 Premiership and sniping his way across the try line on plenty of occasions.

Snowden is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with some familiar faces, and meeting others whom he holds in high regard.

“Steve Cummins and I have played a lot of footy together and enjoyed success with Eastwood in Sydney, and I also spent a season alongside Toby Smith with Waikato in New Zealand, so it will be great to shift down and have some familiar faces I know on and off the field,” he said.

“There’s also some really high quality players I’ve come up against such as Jack Debreczeni and Nic Stirzaker who have signed for the Rebels and become even better since they’ve made the move, and hopefully I can go down a similar path.”

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