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Melbourne Rebels sign Jake Schatz as Sean McMahon injury cover

Kane Douglas has backed the young guns to step up and impress for the Reds (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The Melbourne Rebels have drafted in Reds discard Jake Schatz as cover for Test flanker Sean McMahon, who is expected to miss the first month of the Super Rugby season following ankle surgery.

Cut by Queensland, back-rower Schatz has been signed by the Rebels as immediate cover for McMahon, who initially damaged the joint during last year's Rugby Championship.

Melbourne have also signed centre Dennis Pili-Gatuia to cover for former Australian Sevens player Pama Fou, who has suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Fou ruptured his ACL at training for the second time in less than a year, ahead of what would have been his first season with the Rebels.

Rebels general manager Baden Stephenson said the experienced pair would add strength to the squad, which was decimated by injury in 2016.

"The inclusion of Jake and Dennis will provide the squad with additional cover and depth as we ramp up our preparations for 2017 with trial matches against the Force and Reds over the next two weeks," Stephenson said.

Schatz, capped twice by the Wallabies in 2014, brings 86 games of Super Rugby experience to the club after seven seasons with the Queensland Reds.

Pili-Gatuia, a former Blues development squad member and North Harbour player, joins the club after two seasons with the Sydney Rays in the 2015 and 2016 National Rugby Championship.

The Melbourne Rebels play their first trial matches against the Western Force on Feb 6 and Reds on Feb 14, book-ending their appearance in the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens.

Melbourne Storm recruit Marika Koroibete is expected to play in the Tens although he is battling a knee injury.

Their first Super Rugby game is against the Blues at AAMI Park on Thursday 23 February.