Rebels add Argentine energy to pack

The Melbourne Rebels have added some Argentine energy to their forward pack, with Los Pumas squad members Lucio Sordoni and Ignacio Calas signing on for the 2021 season.

Argentina’s Ignacio Calas during the 2016 U20 World Rugby Championships.Credit:Getty Images

Sordoni, a prop, and Calas, a lock, have almost completed quarantine and will join the squad in the coming days following a successful 2020 in which both made the national team squad, where Sordoni, 22, has managed three appearances including the Test match against New Zealand in Newcastle.

Calas, 24, is a 201-centimetre lock who has been moving up the ranks with the Jaguares and Los Pumas and he will add depth to the Rebels’ line-out.

Rebels coach Dave Wessels said the two forwards and returning prop Cabous Eloff (back from South Africa) would arrive in Melbourne after being in quarantine.

Wessels said both Argentine signings received glowing references from Los Pumas coach Mario Ledesma.

“We are very fortunate to have Ignacio and Lucio joining us,” Wessels said.

“We were all impressed with how Argentina played their recent test matches and their enthusiasm and energy for the game.

“In our talks with [Argentina coach] Mario Ledesma, both of them seemed to be a good fit for us character-wise and they come from a great environment as Mario is a world-class forwards coach.”

Sordoni will be pushing for minutes at tight-head prop along with Pone Fa’amausili and Eloff and Wessels hopes he can give the side a boost in its set piece work.

“Lucio’s profile is quite similar to Pone and Cabous so he will fit in really well there,” Wessels said.

Lucio Sordoni is joining Calas at the Melbourne Rebels.Credit:Getty Images

“We have looked to make our group as diverse as possible this season and our interactions with them so far have been fantastic and they are hungry to make this a success.”

Wessels joked that his two signings spoke better English than he does Spanish, and he doesn’t believe there will be much in the way of communication issues with the pair.

“Like most people, I’m sure they speak perfect English until they get in trouble,” Wessels joked.

“All our communications have been good so far, out of the pair, Ignacio speaks very fluent English.”

The Rebels are still in talks to sign one more overseas-based player but otherwise will have their full squad in training ahead of the new Super Rugby season.

“After a year away from Melbourne, we can’t wait to get back onto AAMI Park this season,” Wessels said.

The Rebels have a bye in round one before facing Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium on February 26 at 7.45pm.

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