Stars Align for RaboDirect Rebels Hooker Pat Leafa

RaboDirect Rebels Hooker Pat Leafa admits that the stars have aligned for him ahead of the 2014 Super Rugby season.

Leafa sympathises with fellow rake Tom Sexton, whose season is over after suffering a ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament, however that disappointing injury gives Pat a great chance of starting against the Cheetahs in the Rebels’ first match of the Super Rugby season, on Friday February 28th at AAMI Park.

“I really feel for Tom (Sexton),” he says. “We all know as Rugby players that injuries are a genuine risk and possibility, but it’s never easy to get through them. Tom’s a really nice guy, and I’m sure he will come back better from this setback.

“The door for me to be the starting hooker is the most open it could be right now. With Tom injured, (Foundation Rebel) Ged Robinson departing to New Zealand and Shota Horie arriving late after his Japanese season, there’s a great opportunity for me and I just need to try and grab it with both hands.”

Leafa has played substantial minutes in both of the Club’s pre-season matches thus far, with trialist Steve Faulau the only alternative available to Tony McGahan on both occasions. Pat has impressed at scrum time, and with ball in hand, though slippery conditions have made delivery into the lineout a battle at times.

“I was really happy with the scrum performance on Saturday night in Geelong, against the Hurricanes,” says Pat. “To come up against an All Black capped front row (Ben Franks, Dane Coles and John Schwalger) and actually get the better of them was fantastic.

“Tony was pleased with some aspects of the game, but we know we have plenty of work left to do. It’s good to develop winning habits, but it’s important not to get carried away with pre-season results.

“I’m working really hard on my throwing to get it to where it needs to be. I’m prepared to do as much extra work as required to get that spot on.”

Leafa enters his second season at the Rebels, after making substitute appearances against both the British & Irish Lions and Brumbies in 2013, and the popular hooker is enjoying working with the new-look young squad assembled in an attempt to improve the win/loss ratio immediately.

“It’s a really good group of guys here, and there is a really good spirit. Tony has come in and works us very hard; he’s never 100% happy, which keeps us working to be better.”

Leafa enjoyed family support when the Club ventured to the border to play a home match against the Waratahs in sweltering conditions.

“I have two cousins who have moved to Wagga Wagga, so they came and watched in Albury and brought all their kids which was fantastic. It’s great to have your family there to support you, though I’m pretty sure the kids were more focused on the goodies in the Rebels show bags than watching me play! My grandmother comes and watches all the games at AAMI Park; last year I sat with her for a lot of them, but hopefully this year she’ll be watching me out on the field more!”

A destructive ball runner, with an eye for the try line, Leafa’s destiny appears in his own hands ahead of a potential breakthrough season

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About Dave

I totally love sport. Rugby, cricket and soccer, but my first love will always be rugby. Other than sport I write my own poems and other interestings articles. I also love cooking. A man of many talents. When it come to Cricket I'm a Cape Cobras, Kolkata Knight Riders and Proteas supporter. Soccer there is only one team and that is Man United and Germany internationally. Other than that I'm a loving father and husband.

Posted on February 13, 2014, in Australian Rugby, Melbourne Rebels, Super 15 Rugby. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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