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Qantas Wallabies backrower Lopeti Timani has re-committed to Australian Rugby after signing a two-year extension with the ARU and the Melbourne Rebels.
The 26 year-old made his Qantas Wallabies debut last year against Argentina in Perth, before going on to play six Tests in a breakout season where he imposed himself as a formidable backrow force.
Having already signed until the end of the 2017 season, Timani’s extension sees him through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
“I’m thankful for the opportunities in the last 12 months, it was a goal to play for the Wallabies and the result of lots of hard work, but I feel like there are lots of improvements that I can still make in my game,” Timani said.
“I’ve enjoyed my time in Melbourne over the last couple of years so I’m looking forward to working with Rebels head coach Tony McGahan and forwards coach Zane Hilton to give myself the best chance at fulfilling my dream of playing at the Rugby World Cup.”
Despite interest from overseas, Qantas Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said it was pleasing to see Timani continue his development in Australia.
“Lopeti made a great entry into the international arena with the Wallabies last year and he certainly did not look out of place in a Test jersey,” Cheika said.
"The challenge is just starting for him now and you can see he wants it after knocking back some lucrative European offers to stay and play in Melbourne and putting his hand up to represent the Wallabies again in 2017.”
One of seven children - and the younger brother of fellow Wallaby Sitaleki - Lopeti made his Super Rugby debut with the New South Wales Waratahs before moving to Melbourne in 2014.
Super Rugby debut: 2012 v Queensland, Sydney
Super Rugby caps: 48 (19 NSW Waratahs, 29 Melbourne Rebels)
Super Rugby points: 30 (6T all Melbourne Rebels)
Test debut: 2016 v Argentina, Perth
Test caps: 6