Fiji flyhalf Volavola joins Rebels

Rugby Union - England v Fiji - IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool A - Twickenham Stadium, London, England - 18/9/15 Fiji's Ben Volavola drops the ball Reuters / Stefan Wermuth Livepic

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Fiji international flyhalf Ben Volavola has signed a one-year contract with Australian Super Rugby side Melbourne Rebels following an unsuccessful stint in New Zealand with Canterbury Crusaders.

The 25-year-old, who started all four of Fiji’s games at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, had joined the seven-time champion Crusaders from the New South Wales Waratahs to help fill the void left by the departure of All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter.

However, he struggled to get regular playing time in Christchurch where local Richie Mo’unga was preferred ahead of him.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue my career in Melbourne,” Volavola said in a statement on Friday.

“I’m excited by the chance to grow my game at a club that has a great record for nurturing and developing elite players under head coach Tony McGahan.”

Sydney-born Volavola, who also played provincial rugby for Canterbury, had signed a two-year contract with the Crusaders but was released late last year.

The Rebels open the Super Rugby season with a Feb. 23 clash against the Auckland Blues before travelling to Wellington to play 2016 champions the Hurricanes.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford