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Veteran Rebels' work is done: Hill


Stathi Paxinos

Rebels coach Damien Hill.

Rebels coach Damien Hill. Photo: Getty Images

MELBOURNE Rebels coach Damien Hill has declared the veterans now causing a log-jam as they head to the exits have completed the job required by a fledgling club and will leave it with a legacy to take it to a promising future.

Utility back Mark Gerrard, who has been one of the Rebels' best performers in the club's short existence, on Friday night announced he would join the list of veterans either retiring or playing elsewhere at the end of this season.

Fellow former Wallabies Stirling Mortlock, Julian Huxley and Al Campbell, plus former England breakaway Michael Lipman, have all announced their departures and it is expected more will follow.

''The fact that it was a new club, we chose to recruit players in a certain age group for their experience and leadership and we always knew that for a lot of them it was going to be their last contract and this is just a consequence of it,'' Hill said.

''I still think it was the right decision to make. The club's in a good place and is moving in the right direction and those senior players have had a lot to do with that.

''This place is continuing to build. I'm excited where it is headed but the player changes that we need to go through next year is part and parcel of a start-up club.''

He said the Rebels would have liked to have kept Gerrard but they could not compete with the money on offer in Japan, where he will play for a second-division club.

''He's been one of our best players,'' Hill said. ''We'll miss him … he's been a leader, he's covered full-back, wing and outside-centre for us and he's got one of the best kicking games in the whole competition. We fully respect his decision - we're lucky to have had him for the time we have.''

Gerrard has not ruled out returning to the Rebels, although he believes his rugby days will probably end in Japan.

The 29-year-old did not reveal his decision to leave until after the Rebels' 32-17 loss to the Reds on Friday night, leaving the limelight to remain on retiring skipper Mortlock's final game in Australia.

''I'm just happy to drift off into the wilderness,'' Gerrard said. ''I didn't want to make a fuss.''

Gerrard plans to play one match of the Rebels' upcoming two games in South Africa to finish the season and then return for the birth of his son in Sydney. The Rebels have announced a 26-man squad for games against the Lions in Johannesburg and the Stormers in Cape Town.

Star back James O'Connor is out after re-injuring his hamstring but Mortlock, who has been battling a calf problem, is included.

Lloyd Johansson will come in for O'Connor.

With aap

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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