Melbourne Rebels boosted by returning Toomua for 2019
Photo: SPA Images
The Melbourne Rebels and Australian rugby will benefit from the return of popular utility back Matt Toomua in time for the 2019 Super Rugby season.
The former Brumby has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal that will commence at the end of the upcoming Gallagher Premiership season in England, where he is currently plying his trade for Leicester Tigers.
Born in Melbourne, the 28-year-old is excited about returning to his roots with a Rebels side clearly on the up under head coach Dave Wessels.
“The Rebels are a Club on the rise and I was really impressed after having a few conversations with Dave about his plans for the future,” explained Toomua.
“The option to return to Australia was something that did exist within my contract, only if a chance to represent the Wallabies was there and, with a Rugby World Cup next year, was ultimately one I couldn’t turn down.
“As well as a chance to represent my country at a World Cup again, the return home also allows me to be closer to both my wife and family after nearly three years on the opposite side of the world.”
For Wessels – who actually coached Toomua in 2012 as an assistant with the Brumbies – the signing of such a talented player with 33 test caps for the Wallabies and 88 Super Rugby appearances under his belt, is a significant boost.
“Matt is a world-class player and we’re delighted that he has decided to continue his Super Rugby career with us in Melbourne,” he said. “He’s a very competitive player and that comes through in all of his preparation and performances.
“Most importantly he wants to win. He has high aspirations for both himself and our club. We can’t wait to welcome him in the coming months.”
Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika was equally enthused at the chance to reintroduce Toomua to the international fold after his overseas sabbatical.
“I’m really excited that Matt has decided to return home. He wanted to come back to play rugby in Australia again and also to represent Australia again. It’s a massive boost to the squad and adds to the depth that we’ve built for the broader Wallabies squad in a key position.”
As a result of his re-signing with Australian rugby, Toomua is immediately available for Wallaby selection. He won’t be considered for tonight’s trial against a Super Rugby select squad at Leichhardt Oval, but is definitely on the radar for the upcoming Rugby Championship, which kicks-off in a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, Toomua will focus all his efforts on helping Leicester Tigers back into their accustomed position of title challengers, after the club missed out on finals footy for the first time in 14 years last time out.
“Leicester have been fantastic to me throughout my time here,” he said. “I am still very much a Tigers player and, if anything, being able to have this all sorted is more positive than having a decision hanging over my head.
“I absolutely love Leicester, have become close friends with all of my teammates here, and want to go out in a successful way.”
Test debut: 2013 v New Zealand, Sydney
Test caps: 33
Test points: 20 (4T)
Super Rugby debut: 2008 v Hurricanes, Canberra
Super Rugby caps: 88
Super Rugby points: 102