Super Rugby
Japanese hooker Horie won't return to Rebels
ESPN Staff
February 2, 2015
Shota Horie had become a fan favourite at the Rebels © Getty Images

Melbourne Rebels will be without Japanese international Shota Horie for the entire Super Rugby season after the hooker was injured playing for Panasonic Wild Knights.

Horie was due to return for a third season in Melbourne after the finish of the Japanese Top League season but he will now remain at home to complete his rehabilitation ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015.

"It is unfortunate that I will not have the opportunity to return to Melbourne and play at AAMI Park," Horie said. "I have enjoyed my two years living in Melbourne, and playing for the Rebels, and I will miss all my teammates and all of the fans. I want to thank everybody for their support, and I hope you can make Japan your second team at the Rugby World Cup in 2015!"

Rebels have improved playmaking depth for season 2015

Rebels coach Tony McGahan lamented the loss of Horie, who'd become somewhat of a cult figure in Melbourne due to his energetic displays in the front-row.

"Shota is a player who brought a lot to the group, on and off the field, and is somebody the coaches enjoyed working with because of his ability and fantastic attitude," McGahan said. "He will always be a Rebel and will always be respected by everybody at the Club; we all wish him the best, and look forward to seeing him in action at the World Cup."

The Rebels have wasted little time in finding a replacement for Horie with former Western Force and Biarritz hooker Ben Whittaker joining the club on a 12-month deal. Whittaker joins Pat Leafa and Tom Sexton as the Rebels' hooker options.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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