Rebels' Kemeny looks to UK to develop rugby skills

Melbourne Rebels back-rower Josh Kemeny says his move overseas isn't about turning his back on the Wallabies but about making him a better player.

Kemeny made his Test debut last year, playing twice, but then surprised onlookers by signing a two-year deal with English club Northampton Saints - meaning he will miss the opportunity to establish himself with the Wallabies ahead of next year's British and Irish Lions tour and a home Rugby World Cup in 2027.

Ahead of Melbourne's Super Rugby Pacific clash with the Highlanders at AAMI Park on Saturday night, Kemeny said exposure to northern hemisphere rugby could only help his game.

"Playing international rugby has always been a big goal and I was grateful to do that last year, but this is a really exciting move for my career, " said Kemeny, who has been with Melbourne since 2020.

"I'm 25, so it definitely doesn't close that door by any means - it's something that's going to help me develop as a player, and hopefully an international player."

Josh Kemeny warms up with the Wallabies.
Kemeny remains keen to add to his two Wallabies caps, despite his overseas move.

Kemeny has missed the Rebels' past three games with an ankle injury but joins star Test fullback Andrew Kellaway in returning to the line-up.

The Sydney-born Kemeny said belief was growing with each win that the Rebels could make their first finals campaign, with the team sitting fifth after seven rounds.

"I've been here a couple of years and the feeling this year is definitely the strongest, the most belief that we've," he said.

"Coming back from deficits in games is something that we didn't do well last year but something we're doing really well now. 

"Winning those types of games is really good for the feeling around the club."

He said the improved work-rate and fitness of the players was notable, allowing them to lift in the closing stages.

The eighth-placed Highlanders are Melbourne's last target in a three-week block ahead of the bye to set themselves up for a maiden finals run.

Still waiting on a decision from Rugby Australia over their future in the competition, the financially stricken club took down the Waratahs in Sydney followed by the Fijian Drua at home in the last round.

"We wanted to have a narrow focus to reset the minds ... and this was a three-week focus," said coach Kevin Foote, whose team last won three straight in 2020.

"Winning the Weary Dunlop trophy (against the Waratahs) was massive for us and then to beat the Drua, and now to finish this block off with a good challenge against the Highlanders. 

"If we do that we set ourselves up in a good place, going into the bye in a place we're quite happy with."

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store