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Promising Kiwi joins Rebels rugby

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Melissa Woods

If rugby bloodlines count for anything, Melbourne Rebels recruit Jackson Garden-Bachop has the makings of a future star.

The 22-year-old playmaker has continued the Kiwi connection at the Rebels, signing on as the final member of the Rebels outfit for the 2017 Super Rugby season.

Although Garden-Bachop is yet to make a real impact at senior level, both parents represented New Zealand at rugby, along with an uncle and two first cousins.

Garden-Bachop's father, Stephen Bachop, was an All Black five-eighth and his late mother, Sue Garden-Bachop, was a Black Fern and represented New Zealand at touch.

His uncle, Graeme Bachop, was also an All Black, as were Jackson's cousins Nathan and Aaron Mauger.

The versatile five-eighth said playing for a Super Rugby club was a long-held ambition.

"I'm excited to sign my first Super Rugby contract; it's been a goal of mine for the last four of years since I left school so I'm very happy that Melbourne has given me the opportunity," Garden-Bachop said.

"I'm definitely ready to give Super Rugby a crack, train full-time and learn from some really good players and top quality coaches."

Garden-Bachop was a stand-out for his Wellington Lions side in the provincial 2016 Mitre 10 Cup.

Noted for his goal-kicking and pace, he represented New Zealand at schoolboy and under 20 level.

Rebels coach Tony McGahan said he'd been on their radar for a while.

"We have been watching Jackson for some time and we have been very impressed with his temperament, consistency of core skills and hunger to compete," McGahan said.

The signing continues the club's affection for New Zealanders, with Tamati Ellison, Adam Thomson, Scott Fuglistaller, Pat Leafa, Jason Woodward and Toby Smith joining the side in recent years.

With former Melbourne Storm NRL winger Marika Koribete the star recruit, Garden-Bachop is one of 10 new faces in the 38-man squad, who will start pre-season training on November 14.

The Rebels open their 2017 campaign against the Auckland Blues on February 23 at AAMI Park.

Rebels (former clubs of new additions in brackets): Cruze Ah-Nau, Steve Cummins, Dominic Day (Toyota Verblitz, Japan), Jack Debreczeni, Tom English, Colby Fainga'a, Pama Fou (Australian Sevens), Harley Fox, Jackson Garden-Bachop (Wellington Lions, NZ), James Hanson, Reece Hodge, Mitch Inman, Sam Jeffries, Marika Koroibete (Melbourne Storm), Pat Leafa, Rob Leota, Tyrel Lomax (Tuggeranong, ACT), Jack McGregor (Gordon, NSW), Sean McMahon, Jack Maddocks (Easts, NSW), Amanaki Mafi (NTT Communications, Japan), Ben Meehan, Tim Metcher, Tom Moloney, Sefa Naivalu, Jonah Placid, Jordy Reid, Culum Retallick, Dominic Shipperley, Siliva Siliva, Toby Smith, Mick Snowden, Nic Stirzaker, Lopeti Timani, Alex Toolis (Edinburgh, UK), Sione Tuipulotu, Jordan Uelese (Melbourne Uni, Vic) Laurie Weeks.

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