Saints sign Australia international Josh Kemeny

Saints sign Australia international Josh Kemeny

Northampton Saints today announce that Australian back row Josh Kemeny will join the Club from Melbourne Rebels ahead of the 2024/25 season.

The 6’4”, 110kg flanker has made 27 Super Rugby appearances (starting in 24) for the Rebels since making his debut for the Melbourne-based club against the Brumbies in 2020.

Kemeny is a mobile and powerful ball carrier who has become one of the Rebels’ strongest performers on the pitch, featuring in 12 of the side’s 15 Super Rugby matches last season and making 68 carries, 306 metres, and 109 tackles across the competition.

He rose through the ranks at Cranbrook School in Sydney, also earning selection for New South Wales Schools, before representing Australia in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in France in 2018.

But it was while studying for a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Management and playing for Sydney University that Kemeny’s talents were noticed by the Rebels, who quickly swooped in to secure his signature after he helped the side secure a second consecutive Shute Shield title. The flanker also represented Sydney in the National Rugby Championship before his move to Super Rugby.

After three seasons with the Rebels, Kemeny earned his first international cap for the Wallabies, coming off the bench against Argentina in Sydney in July 2023 – and that Test debut could have come even sooner, but for a knee injury which restricted his rapid progress after he was initially named in Dave Rennie’s first Wallaby squad back in 2021.

Kemeny added another cap for Australia at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in the Wallabies’ victory over Portugal, and the 25-year-old is now looking forward to testing himself and continuing his development across the world in European rugby and the Gallagher Premiership.

“The success that Northampton Saints have had in developing their players was definitely what made this move to England so appealing for me at this stage of my career,” he said.

“Also, the Club is really trending in the right direction, putting in some fantastic performances in the Premiership and in Europe. Ultimately I want to be part of a team which is successful, and play my part in helping that success, and I believe Northampton is the place to do it.

“The conversations I have had with Saints’ coaches and people associated with the Club have been incredibly positive and really shown that it is a top-class operation – when you hear such good things about the town, the supporters, the group of players and so on, it really paints a great picture of Northampton.

“The quality and different styles of rugby in the Premiership and in Europe, and the pressure for performance that is put on you in those different competitions, is something that I really wanted to challenge myself in and I’m excited to experience that next season.”

Such is Kemeny’s pace and athletic ability, the flanker was selected by Australia as a ‘utility player’ at the 2023 Rugby World Cup – covering ‘seven, six and the wing’.

And Northampton Saints’ Director of Rugby, Phil Dowson, believes that explosive game coupled with a burning ambition to improve as a player will make Kemeny a perfect fit for the demands of English rugby.

He said: “From watching Josh play, the thing that impressed us the most was his athleticism. He’s powerful, big and fast, he’s a solid lineout option, and crucially we can see a huge potential for growth in his game.

“Those are all traits that are obviously very helpful in rugby, but he’s also got the desire to get stuck in – his work rate is clear to see.

“Then, when we began our conversations with him, his ambition clearly stood out as well. He has a huge desire to get better as a player, which is what we always look for here at Saints, and he was passionate about the idea of challenging himself over here in the Premiership, in what can be a pretty brutal league.

“When you’re recruiting, the ideal recipe is someone who is physical and can play the game, but also someone who wants to push themselves, try new things, and get better. We believe we have found all of that in Josh, so we’re really excited to see what he can do in a Saints shirt next season.”

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