20 May Brumbies sign young guns for the future
The Aquis Brumbies have today signed three up-and-coming players to development and Extended Playing Squad (EPS) contracts for 2017 and beyond.
Current development contract player Ben Hyne has signed an EPS contract for 2017 along with talented Melbourne Rebels teenager Robert Valetini, while 18-year old Brumbies Colts U20s representative Ryan Lonergan will join the Super Rugby squad on a two-year contract.
Current Brumbies development contract player Ben Hyne will move to an EPS contract in 2017. The former carpenter drove from Brisbane to Canberra to link with the Brumbies for pre-season training before playing in the side’s trial match against the Waratahs in Wagga Wagga in February. The 22-year old, who can play lock or flanker, was flown to South Africa by Brumbies Head Coach Stephen Larkham in March however is yet to make his Super Rugby debut.
The Rockhampton-product who has already scored a number of tries for Tuggeranong Vikings in the 2016 John I Dent Cup, first impressed Brumbies coaching staff when he represented eventual champions Brisbane City in the 2015 National Rugby Championship. He scored a try in City’s NRC win over the UC Vikings at Viking Park and went on to gain selection in the Australian Barbarians side that toured New Zealand in November.
Exciting Melbourne Rebels U20s representative Robert Valetini has also signed an EPS deal with the Brumbies for 2017 and in doing so follows Brumbies 2016 recruit Nick Jooste as a player to sign a Super Rugby contract straight from school.
Valetini, a versatile backrower, has risen through the ranks of Melbourne’s Emerging Player Program and at the age of just 17 was a key member of the Rebels U20s side for the inaugural Super U20s Championship earlier this year. He currently plays for Melbourne’s strong Harlequins club and is a product of Westall Secondary College in Victoria who has represented Victorian state squads at U16, U18 and U20 level.
The third player signed by the Brumbies this week is up-and-coming scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan. The 18-year old has risen through the ranks of ACT representative Rugby as a junior.
In 2015 he was a member of the Brumbies victorious U17 Junior Gold Cup side and was selected in the Australian Schools Barbarians squad. Earlier this year the Trinity Christian School product was a member of the Brumbies Colts side for the Super U20s Championship and trained with the Brumbies Super Rugby squad during pre-season. Lonergan, who plays for Tuggeranong Vikings, has signed a two-year deal, beginning with a development contract for 2017.
Brumbies Head Coach Stephen Larkham said he was very pleased to have secured the services of the three youngsters.
“All of these players have had a taste of professional Rugby in one way or another and have shown that they’ve got potential for Super Rugby,” Larkham said.
“You can see the dedication in their attitude on the field, whether it be at training or in competitions like Super U20s.
“Our Pathways program continues to develop elite players and we hope to see all of these players in Brumbies colours in the future.”