Geoff Parling hasn’t flown halfway around the world to play second fiddle.
The Rebels recruit, who has arrived in Melbourne this week from his native England, via Japan, is here to prove a point.
The 34-year-old is here to prove to himself that he can compete in the best club competition in the southern hemisphere, having carved out a stellar career for Newcastle, Leicester, Exeter, England and the British and Irish Lions during his time in the English Premiership.
“I just want to put my best foot forward and get stuck in,” Parling said.
“I’d like to prove to myself that I’m good enough to play in the comp, for starters.“Further than that, I would like to try and add something to the squad, the club.
“It’s a new club, really, so if I can help push us on and offer us something in order to keep us winning I will be very happy.”
To get one of the two coveted starting spots in the second row, Parling faces some stiff competition.
Adam Coleman will have a mortgage on one of the spots, Matt Philip is a rising star and Sam Jeffries has impressed throughout the preseason.
“Everyone is here to play and there is a good buzz around the squad because it is a new team for a lot of people,” Parling said.
“The competition is there and it’s a really good squad on paper.“But it’s not about the squad on paper, it’s about what you do as a team together.
“Because this group of players hasn’t played together yet, it’s difficult.
“It’s difficult to see how cohesive they will all be in a small amount of time so I will just bide my time for now and see how we go.”
When he does get on the field, Parling is expecting a frenetic pace.
“I’ve heard that it’s quicker, in general, than the Premiership,” he said.
“My team in the Premiership, in England, were big on ball in play so I can imagine it will be quite similar to that team.
“I expect the lungs to be blowing a bit.”
The Rebels kick off their Super Rugby season on February 23 against the Rebels at AAMI Park, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.
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