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The Wallabies’ depth has been given a massive boost ahead of the Bledisloe Cup, with experienced playmaker Matt Toomua inking a two-and-a-half-year deal to return to Australian rugby.
Toomua, who earned 33 caps for Australia before moving to Leicester in 2016, will be immediately eligible for Wallabies selection before heading back to the Tigers to see out the rest of his contract there. He’ll the join the Melbourne Rebels midway through the 2019 Super Rugby season.
“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,” Toomua said.
“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.
“The Rebels are a Club on the rise and I was really impressed after having a few conversations with Dave (Wessels) about his plans for the future.
“I am still very much a Tigers player and, if anything, being able to have this all sorted is more positive than have a decision hanging over my head.”
Toomua’s signature gives Michael Cheika some much-needed key-position depth in the backline ahead of a Bledisloe campaign which the Wallabies will enter without two of their regular centre options in Tevita Kuridrani and Samu Kerevi.
“I’m really excited that Matt has decided to return home,” Cheika said.
“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.”
Toomua won’t be considered for selection in the upcoming trial game to be played at Leichhardt Oval this Friday, but is almost certain to feature in Cheika’s Bledisloe Cup squad.