Matt Toomua is relishing the chance to start for the Wallabies against South Africa in Brisbane.Matt Toomua is hoping to give Michael Cheika a glimpse into an alternate future for the Wallabies when he makes his return to the starting Test side on Saturday.
Bernard Foley had been assumed to be ‘s only real option at five-eighth ahead of next year’s World Cup, simply because there were no other compelling candidates.
But Cheika’s decision to dump Foley to the bench for the first time during his reign as coach has set the cat amongst the pigeons.
Kurtley Beale will start in the No.10 jersey instead against South Africa in Saturday night’s Rugby Championship clash at Suncorp Stadium, with Toomua next to him at inside centre.
Toomua had come off the bench for brief cameos in ‘s two heavy Bledisloe Cup defeats last month, having made himself eligible for selection again by signing a deal to join the Melbourne Rebels next year.
The 28-year-old said a starting jersey was what he had come back to n rugby for, and warned he wouldn’t be giving it up easily.
And if the remodelled playmaking axis sparks the Wallabies back into form, it could quite conceivably become the new normal.
“It’s very much a chance for Kurtley and myself as a combination to provide a different picture than what’s been in the past,” Toomua said.
“We’ll see how it works out – I’m obviously hoping that it goes really well.
“Bernard and Kurtley have done some amazing things in the n jersey recently and at provincial level as well.
“It’s now my turn to have a crack, basically.
“If we do really well it provides another option and the powers that be will choose what’s the go long term.”
Cheika said he wanted to shake the team up by dropping Foley but said he hadn’t done it “for the sake of it”, suggesting he wants a good, close look at Beale and Toomua working in tandem.
They have played together before for the Wallabies, having filled the same roles under Ewan McKenzie in 2014.
But Toomua is hopeful they will be even better now, having spent the last two years refining his own game with Leicester in the English Premiership.
“Hopefully I’ve matured and grown,” he said.
“(After) two years of footy up there … a different style, learning to problem-solve a lot over there in different conditions and competitions against different teams – I’d like to think that’s added a few things, mentally especially, in terms of how to play.”