From big gut to big gun, Rebels coach Dave Wessels has seen quite the transformation in star lock Adam Coleman.
Coleman has officially put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at the Rebels until the end of 2019 and that’s a serious coup, given the interest he attracted from overseas clubs.
Australian rugby fans think of Coleman as the chief aggressor in a burgeoning Wallabies forward pack but Wessels, having seen Coleman from his first day at the Force, cheekily recalls meeting a completely different athlete two years ago.
“He’s a guy I have seen enormous change in over the last couple of years,” Wessels said.
“When he started out with us he had a gut hanging out the front of his pants and he certainly wasn’t the athlete that he is now.“To know how hard he has worked to get to the point where he is at now – it’s really rewarding.”
While signing Coleman is undoubtedly Australia’s best lock, Wessels believes the best is yet to come for the 26-year-old.
“There’s still so much growth left in him,” Wessels said.
“He has real aspirations to be the best lock in the world and I certainly think he can achieve that.
“We are delighted he has picked our program to help him achieve that.”
In signing Coleman and fellow former Force lock Matt Philip, the Rebels have added an abrasive edge to a pack that was relatively dour in 2017.“One of the great things about Adam is that he’s just aggressive – it’s part of his DNA – he’s a dynamic player,” Wessels said.
“He’s a genuinely aggressive player and he is naturally that – it’s not for show.
“Those players are few and far between – you can almost name them in world rugby.
“That’s special in your forward pack because when the going gets tough and the going gets dark he’s the first guy to climb in and get in there.
“That will set a tempo for the rest of the forwards.”As Coleman recovers from minor hand surgery, Wessels is putting the Rebels through some rigorous fitness sessions over the summer, preaching the importance of fitness in playing an attractive style of rugby.
“We need to be fitter,” Wessels said.
“A lot of the focus over the these next couple of weeks is all about getting ourselves in a physical condition to be able to play.
“In order to play the kind of rugby that we want to play we have to be fit.”
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