The Melbourne Rebels have secured Amanaki Mafi for the 2018 Super Rugby season after the powerful backrower signed a contract extension.
The highly sought 27-year-old Japanese international, named the Rebels 2017 Players’ Player, was thought to be a major target for Northampton Saints.
However, that deal looks to be dead after it was announced he’s agreed to a one-year extension to remain with the Rebels for a second season.
Melbourne Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said the club was pleased to re-sign the club’s newest cult hero despite serious interest from rivals.
“We’re thrilled that fan favourite Amanaki has chosen to remain with the Rebels in Melbourne for another year after a standout first Super Rugby season generated plenty of interest,” Stephenson said.
“Amanaki was the most dominant forward in the Australian Conference and quickly established himself as a highly respected member of the Rebels squad with his consistent hard running and physical presence in the backrow a highlight in every game this season.”