Queensland Super Rugby team the Reds have signed former Queensland representative Jono Lance after the Melbourne Rebels released him from his contract early.
The 26-year-old will return to the Reds, where he made 20 Super Rugby appearances between 2011-2013, including a Super Rugby title.
“We understand and respect Jono’s request so in the best interest of Australian rugby and the player we’ve agreed to release him from his contract,” Melbourne Rebels General Manager Professional Rugby & Pathways Nick Ryan said.
“We wish him well in his return to the Reds.”
The Rebels flyhalf stocks have received a boost with the return of Jack Debreczeni on a one-year contract after he spent the off-season with the Honda Heat in Japan’s Top Challenge League.
Debreczeni made 42 Super Rugby appearances, including 170 points, in four seasons with the Rebels following his debut off the bench against the Waratahs in Round 15, 2014.
“We’re pleased to welcome Jack back to the Rebels, he will provide additional depth and experience to a highly competitive squad which already includes Jack Maddocks, Taylor Adams and Jack McGregor,” Ryan said.
Twenty-seven-year-old Lance has played more than 50 Super Rugby games and won two Super Rugby trophies (Reds and Waratahs) and an NRC title since making his debut for the Reds back in 2011.
His seven years as a professional have seen him play for the Reds, Waratahs and Western Force, along with a recent stint with Worcester Warriors in the English Premiership.
Lance said he was happy to return to Ballymore, where his Rugby career started.
“I spent a lot of time at Ballymore in the early stages of my career so it was a great feeling to be driving back through the gates again,” he said.
“I know the guys have been working hard in the pre-season so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens the next few weeks. It’s really exciting to get back and pull on the Reds jersey again.”
Reds head coach Brad Thorn said Lance was a good fit for the squad and provided added depth and experience.
“Jono is a great addition to the squad. He’s well known as a good bloke and a tough footballer. He’ll bring plenty of experience and smarts to the backline,” Thorn said.
Lance was originally contracted to the Melbourne Rebels for the 2018 season but has been released to the Reds immediately. He will join his teammates today as preparations continue for their first pre-season fixture, an opposed training session at the St.George Twilight Fan Day at Ballymore on Friday 2 February.
POB: Canberra, ACT
School: The Southport School
Club: University of Queensland
Representative honours: Australian Schoolboys (2007), Australian Under 20s (2010), Australian Sevens (2011)
Queensland Representative Number: 1253
Queensland/Super Rugby debut: 2011 v Western Force
Queensland caps: 21
Queensland points: 8 (1T, 1PG)
Super Rugby caps: 51 (20 Reds, 13 Waratahs, 18 Western Force)
Super Rugby points: 112 (6T, 11C, 19PG)