Freier hooks up with Rebels for Super 15

SYDNEY - Long-standing Waratahs hooker Adam Freier has signed for new Super 15 franchise Melbourne Rebels as he bids to break back into the national team, team officials said yesterday.

SYDNEY - Long-standing Waratahs hooker Adam Freier has signed for new Super 15 franchise Melbourne Rebels as he bids to break back into the national team, team officials said yesterday.

The 30-year-old, whose Wallabies ambitions have been frustrated by injury, will join the Rebels in their inaugural season next year in the hope of winning selection for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

"I still have a burning aspiration to play in the green and gold," he said, referring to Australia's colours.

"If I didn't I would probably have gone to Europe. Over the past two years, when forced to sit on the sidelines, my passion for the game has increased, not waned."

Freier, who has been with the Waratahs since 2002, has played 25 games for his country but is currently nursing a back injury. A move to Europe would have ruled him out for Australia, which selects only home-based players. Former Wallabies skipper Stirling Mortlock and England's Danny Cipriani have also signed for Melbourne under head coach Rod Macqueen.

l The Waikato Chiefs say All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina will be sidelined for up to eight weeks after breaking his thumb in a Super 14 rugby match on Saturday.

Muliaina underwent surgery yesterday to have a pin inserted in his thumb and a Chiefs spokesperson said he was expected to be off the field for between six to eight weeks.

That recovery period means that Muliaina will not play any further part in the Super 14 this season unless the Chiefs, who are currently sixth, reach the semifinals. - Sapa-AP

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