Former England lock Parling joins Rebels for 2018

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Former England lock Geoff Parling has signed with Melbourne Rebels for the 2018 Super Rugby season.

Fresh from helping Exeter Chiefs win the 2016-17 Premiership, 32-Test veteran Parling joins Rebels despite uncertainty over the team's future.

Along with Western Force in Australia, Rebels are facing the axe from Super Rugby as the competition returns to a 15-team format from next season.

The signing of Parling is the first since the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) lifted the moratorium on player contracting late last month.

"After some really enjoyable years in the Premiership, I'm excited about the opportunity to test myself in the Southern Hemisphere that Super Rugby brings," Parling said.

"Hopefully I can add value to the Rebels, and help the team continue the great growth and profile of rugby in Victoria."

Parling, who will join Rebels in January, last played for England at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, while he was also part of the British and Irish Lions squad to tour Australia four years ago.

Rebels chief executive Baden Stephenson welcomed the experience Parling brings.

"Geoff's signing is a strategic recruitment for the club as we look to evolve our squad and program for 2018 and beyond," he said.

"Geoff boasts a wealth of international and domestic experience in successful rugby programs so he will contribute to the strong leadership at the club, along with his world class line-out skills and hard running qualities which will complement our squad."

With uncertainty over their future, Rebels have endured a miserable 2017 season, winning just one of 12 matches.