Matt Toomua suffers tour-ending injury
November 21, 2013
Matt Toomua has been a revelation in the No.12 jumper for the Wallabies © Getty Images
Matt Toomua is returning home from the Wallabies' end-of-year tour Europe, missing their remaining two Tests against Scotland and Wales, after sustaining a low-grade hamstring strain during training in Edinburgh.
Toomua has been a major influence in the backline's scintillating form in the past two wins over Italy and Ireland, as the perfect foil to five-eighth Quade Cooper, and Ewen McKenzie accepted the team would miss the Brumbies five-eighth who has been revelation as a secondary playmaker at inside centre.
"Matt has had a fantastic season and has done a terrific job for the Wallabies in a new position," McKenzie said. "It's extremely disappointing to lose him at this point and not have him available for our final two games. However, he's shown all the positive attributes we want in our players, and we are looking forward to seeing him use his international experience to continue his development during the Super Rugby competition next year."
McKenzie now must select an all-new backline having already lost incumbent wingers Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nick Cummins, stood down for staying out late drinking in Dublin last week, and Tevita Kuridrani, the outside centre having been handed a five-week ban for a dangerous tip tackle on Irish flanker Peter O'Mahony in the 32-15 win against Ireland at Aviva Stadium.
Christian Leali'ifano had been listed as the likely replacement for Kuridrani at No.13, but he may now move back to No.12 in place of Toomua with Israel Folau possibly set to move from fullback to plug a gap on the wing or at outside centre. McKenzie could also choose Mike Harris at No.13.
Rookie Chris Feauai-Sautia is a certainty to start, probably on the wing, but maybe at No.13. Brumbies flyer Joe Tomane is also a certain starter but New South Wales winger Peter Betham is unlikely to play at Murrayfield having received an SOS to join the 32-man squad from Australia on Thursday. The lack of available backline cover is illustrated by the fact that reserve scrum-half Nick Phipps may be required to provide wing cover.
Fringe Wallabies have a chance to prove their credentials, Greg Growden tells Russell Barwick
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal
Laurie Fisher talks about the Brumbies and Gloucester, and provides revealing thoughts on the player involvement during the glory days in Canberra