Brumbies hooker Robbie Abel has signed a one year upgraded contract that will see him playing Super Rugby for the Canberra franchise in 2017.
The talented hooker grew up supporting the Brumbies and was signed to an Extended Playing Squad contract for 2016 and made his Super Rugby debut for the Brumbies in Bloemfontein in March, to become Brumby #183. He also made one other appearance for the side in round ten against the Highlanders in Invercargill.
Abel will link with the Brumbies on a full playing contract in 2017 following a number of standout performances for the University of Canberra Vikings throughout the 2016 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) in which he has scored three tries taking his NRC career points tally to 53.
Abel also played in all 10 of the UC Vikings matches in 2015, including the grand final loss to Brisbane City.
The 27-year old is a former Brumbies Academy player and was a standout junior during his days with St Edmunds College in the ACT, forcing his way into the Australian Schoolboys side in 2008.
He took a two-year hiatus from rugby in 2010 and 2011 to undertake his Mormon mission in Western Australia, before returning to join the Brumbies Academy in 2012 and playing for Northland in the ITM Cup in 2013.
Abel comes from a talented family, his father and a number of his uncles also played for Northland in New Zealand’s domestic competition.
The Griffith Blacks junior, who this year claimed the Brumbies Community Player of the Year Award for his work with indigenous and islander youth groups around the ACT & Southern NSW, said he is very happy to be sticking with the Brumbies in 2017.
“Making my debut in South Africa earlier this year was honestly a dream come true,” Abel said.
“Getting that taste of Super Rugby this year has really spurred me on to keep going and pushing myself again in 2017.
“We’ve got some great depth at hooker next season and I’ll be doing everything I can to help the side out however I can.”
Brumbies Head Coach Stephen Larkham said Abel has continually improved his game over the past 18 months and is pleased to have him on board again in 2017.
“Robbie is a class player who will compete with two Wallabies representatives in Josh Mann-Rea and Saia Fainga’a for the hooker position each week,” Larkham said.
“As we’ve seen over the past two NRC seasons, his work in both the set piece and around the park makes him a very valuable player.
“He works hard at training and will be pushing for more game time again in 2017 and we are very happy to have him on board for another season.”