Lomax gets the OK from Rebels
Tyrel Lomax is now a Tasman Mako following his official release from the Melbourne Rebels.
Tasman and the Highlanders have signed the 21-year-old 127kg prop for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, and although his Rebels contract still had a year to run and he had previously represented the Australian under-20 and schoolboy national teams, Lomax is now committed to a long-term future in New Zealand.
However, Lomax’s hopes of game time had been stymied as he awaited his release from the Rebels, his clearance officially coming through on Friday.
Lomax had been training with Tasman’s Mitre 10 Cup squad over the past week and news of his release couldn’t have come at a better time for the Makos who are experiencing something of a propping crisis.
Prior to Saturday’s match with Otago in Dunedin, Siua Halanukonuka (foot) and Ryan Coxon (ribs) were both still on the injured list while Kane Hames and Tim Perry were both called up to the All Blacks following a season-ending shoulder injury to Joe Moody.
It meant a starting debut for young Stoke prop Tom Hill at Forsyth Barr Stadium, with fellow tyro Isaac Salmon again starting at tighthead in just his first season with the Tasman side.
Lomax finally got his start as a second half substitute as Tasman held on for a controversial 29-27 win.
Tasman chief executive Tony Lewis said that Lomax received a deed of release from both the Australian Rugby Union and Melbourne Rebels on Friday which sparked an intense process as the union sought an international clearance, registering his contract and fulfilling a host of New Zealand Rugby Union protocols. He was cleared at 9.15pm ahead of a flight south to join his new team mates.
In seeking a replacement for South African prop Ross Geldenhuys, who decided earlier this year not to return to Tasman, Lewis said that the initial plan had been to work with the Crusaders. But with their front row stocks full, Tasman went with the Highlanders.
"We’d signed him for four years and this year was always going to be a bonus, we knew that," Lewis said.
"Together we put a good proposal through to Tyrel and his management and they were pretty happy with it. He’s one hell of a specimen."
Tyrel Lomax is now officially a Tasman Mako.