Rebel: Toby Smith.
Melbourne Rebels recruit Toby Smith is Australian-born, but teammate Laurie Weeks has no trouble handing him a compliment that would make any New Zealand prop jealous.
The Rebels scrum has had its struggles over its three seasons, and has missed All Blacks legend Greg Somerville after he retired following the club's foundation year in 2011.
But fellow prop Weeks believes Smith could replace Somerville as the cornerstone of a front row that has been strengthened with Paul Alo-Emile playing in New Zealand's ITM Cup during the off-season and the recruiting of Max Lahiff from English club London Irish. The Rebels are also investigating bringing in another player to fill the hole left by the season-ending knee injury to hooker Tom Sexton.
''I actually see a lot of similarities between him and Greg Somerville, which is funny,'' Weeks said.
''He hits hard and he trains his arse off. He's probably one of the fittest guys in the forward pack.''
Queensland-born Smith is eligible to play for Australia despite living most of his life in New Zealand.
''I'm sure we'll see him in a Wallabies jersey soon,'' Weeks said.
The Rebels will play the Hurricanes in Geelong on Saturday night.