Bledisloe Cup news: Wallabies vs All Blacks, Squads for Game 3, ANZ Stadium, James O’Connor, Matt To’omua, Irae Simone


James O’Connor still believes he is best placed in the No. 10 jersey as the Wallabies weigh up a selection dilemma following an injury to Matt To’omua.

Having lost the first two games of the Bledisloe Cup, the Third Test is must-win for Dave Rennie’s side.

They will have to contend without the experienced To’omua, with a groin injury set to rule the star playmaker out for the rest of the Wallabies season.

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To'omua out for rest of 2020

To’omua out for rest of 2020

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Scans confirm Wallabies star Matt To’omua out for rest of 2020


“However long he misses, he’ll be a big loss,” Haylett-Petty told reporters at the launch of Australia’s new Indigenous jersey, which they will wear against the All Blacks next Saturday. “He’s one of the leaders of the team and he’s probably been close to the form player I think so far shifting out to No.12.”

To’ouma may still complete his rehab while in Wallabies camp, or base himself in Sydney or Canberra for the coming weeks rather than fly back to Melbourne.

Matt To’omua leaves the field after suffering a groin injury.Credit:Getty

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has a few options in the absence of To’omua. They include bringing in Brumbies centre Irae Simone as a straight swap, or potentially shifting incumbent five-eighth James O’Connor to No.12 and handing either Noah Lolesio or Will Harrison a Test debut at No.10.

The Wallabies will link up in the Hunter Valley on Thursday to prepare for their next clash with the All Blacks in Sydney on October 31.

Australia will need to win both remaining matches against the Kiwis to regain the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002.

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Haylett-Petty said belief was still strong within Wallabies camp despite the 20-point loss at Eden Park.

“You probably started to see it in that Wellington game,” Haylett-Petty said. “We didn’t perform in Auckland, but there were definitely some good signs. We missed some opportunities and didn’t lay down.”



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Rugby Championship, Wallabies, Matt Toomua, To’omua, injury, fitness


The Wallabies will be without star playmaker Matt To’omua for next Saturday’s third Bledisloe Cup encounter and the remainder of the Rugby Championship, reports The Sydney Morning Herald .

To’omua broke down with a groin injury late in the first half of Sunday’s match against the All Blacks and the Wallabies felt his absence immediately, with a 10-7 halftime score blowing out to 27-7 by the final whistle.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports he is now set to be sidelined for the remainder of the year.

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Wallabies make shock Petaia selection

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Matt To’omua to miss remainder of Wallabies season Bledisloe Cup and Tri Nations with groin injury


The Melbourne Rebels star has a strong combination with flyhalf James O’Connor in Rennie’s two playmaker attacking shape, a reliable kicking game and a rock solid defensive presence in midfield.

Rennie’s current 44-man squad also lacks depth at inside centre.

Big loss: Matt To'omua.

Big loss: Matt To’omua.Credit:Getty

The only current option which would be a straight swap would mean a Test debut for Irae Simone.

Rennie will otherwise be forced to shuffle his backline. He could push Hunter Paisami into the No. 12 jersey and hand Jordan Petaia a start at outside centre or go the other way, handing Noah Lolesio a Test debut at five-eighth and starting O’Connor at No. 12.

Michael Hooper in the Wallabies' Indigenous jersey.

Michael Hooper in the Wallabies’ Indigenous jersey.

Prior to To’omua’s injury, Rennie said he would not be drafting players from overseas into the Australian squad for the Tri Nations tournament.

A Wallabies spokesperson confirmed that was still the case, leaving the France-based Beale and Japan-based Samu Kerevi on the outer.

Even if one of Beale and Kerevi boarded a flight bound for Australia tomorrow, they would not be available for the third Bledisloe Cup Test at ANZ Stadium on Saturday week due to quarantine protocols.

That’s the match the Wallabies will roll out their new First Nations jersey for the first time. The kit will also be worn against Argentina at Bankwest Stadium on December 5, the final match of the Tri Nations tournament.

The Australians haven’t worn the special jersey on home soil since its debut in the Test arena in 2017.

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The Wallabies beat the All Blacks 23-18 at Suncorp Stadium that night and have since worn a different iteration of the jersey at Twickenham on the 2018 Spring Tour and at last year’s World Cup against Uruguay.

The new jersey was designed by Dennis Golding, a Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist from Redfern.

It does not feature the Aboriginal flag which was proudly emblazoned on the 2017 jersey, as the image is now owned by WAM clothing and Rugby Australia declined to enter negotiations with the organisation to determine a fee for its use.

“Our records show that the only contact we have had with Rugby Australia to date, has been in 2019 to advise them of our licence arrangement with [Indigenous flag creator] Harold Thomas and inviting them to contact us,” a WAM clothing spokesperson said.

“Rugby Australia did not respond to this letter and therefore no discussions regarding the use of the flag have occurred.”

Pre-sale for Saturday week’s third Bledisloe kicked off at 12pm on Tuesday and already, 50 per cent of available tickets for the clash at ANZ Stadium have been sold.

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Thursday at 12pm.

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Bledisloe Cup 3: Wallabies, Matt To’omua injury, Dave Rennie, Noah Lolesio, James O’Connor, Irae Simone, Hunter Paisami, Reece Hodge


After making four changes to the Wallabies side that claimed a 16-all draw with the All Blacks in the opening Bledisloe Test, it was clear Dave Rennie is not messing around.

So, when the Australians missed 40 tackles and made 20 turnovers in a disappointing 27-7 loss on the weekend, Rennie once again signalled that changes may be on the cards.

The next must-win game for the Wallabies is over a week away but attention has already turned to how they can level the series.

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Eden Park curse continues

Eden Park curse continues

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Argentina Pumas to face NSW Waratahs this Saturday as Wallabies sweat on Matt To’omua groin scans


Wallabies squad members Will Harrison and James Ramm were part of the Wicks side that put up a good fight for the first 20 minutes of the contest. Both have spoken about the impact it had on their young careers.

A similar match may be scheduled in the next month against fringe Wallabies squad members but Saturday’s match at Eastwood’s traditional home will not take place in front of spectators.

Mario Ledesma during last year's Rugby Championship.

Mario Ledesma during last year’s Rugby Championship. Credit:AP

Argentina have been scrambling to find a suitable set of practice matches before their first competitive game – against the All Blacks on November 14.

They will face Waratahs squad members and a handful of Shute Shield players whose teams are out of the race for the coveted club rugby title. It’s understood the Waratahs will wear a Sydney Rugby Union kit for the match.

Meanwhile, the Wallabies are sweating on scans of Matt To’omua’s groin injury.

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A Wallabies spokesperson said the initial prognosis was a strain but To’omua won’t know the severity of the injury until he receives the results in the next 48 hours.

The Wallabies flew back from New Zealand on Monday and will have a few days off before heading into camp on Thursday.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has limited options in trying to replace To’omua. The only natural inside-centre in his squad is Irae Simone. Hunter Paisami moved to inside-centre in To’omua’s absence against the All Blacks on Sunday.

One left-field option could be to play star young gun Noah Lolesio at five-eighth and push James O’Connor to inside-centre. Rennie is expected to tweak his squad for the championship in the coming days.

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Starved of success, Matt To’omua and Wallabies eyes Bledisloe Cup legacy against All Blacks


In each of those years, the All Blacks thumped the Australians seven days after the Wallabies sent New Zealand into a tailspin.

“We’ve had quite a few guys who have experienced this. And you can’t buy that, in a sense. There are quiet a few of us who have been on the wrong side of it and that experience is valuable,” To’omua told the Herald.

Matt To'omua during last week's first Bledisloe Test.

Matt To’omua during last week’s first Bledisloe Test.Credit:Getty

“But there’s also value in having young guys who just see [Eden Park] as another football field and they’re looking to play another rugby game. It’s a balance of both.

“It’s an amazing streak they have here. But it will come to an end at some point. And there is something about being a part of the team that could be a part of that. It’s excitement, rather than fearing anything.”

The element of Sunday’s 16-all draw – which was as good as a win given the Wallabies now must win just two of the remaining three Tests – that has given Wallabies fans fresh hope is the way Dave Rennie’s side went about breaking New Zealand down.

The Michael Cheika approach of fighting fire with fire against the best attacking team in world rugby led to some breathtaking results – including the run to the 2015 Rugby World Cup final and last year’s record breaking win in Perth – but too often played into the All Blacks’ hands.

The Wallabies controlled the pace of the match with their kicking game and won both the possession and territory battle handily. That starved the All Blacks of the quick ball they crave.

The Rennie era started on the note many within Rugby Australia expected it to and To’omua can only see the “depth” of the Wallabies’ performance build.

“We are trying to rely less and less on chance,” To’omua said. “Dave is very, very detailed in his approach to the game and our shape and all of that stuff. And that’s good because when pressure comes, you know what to fall back on. That’s really important at this level.

“A few things went our way in Perth and we played really well and it showed what can happen when everything clicks.

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“Unfortunately Test match rugby is about managing lulls and momentum and that happens from game to game, as well as within the game. Hopefully our shape and our system this year can cope better.”

To’omua, alongside James O’Connor and Nic White, is in charge of controlling the Wallabies’ “shape”.

The pair first played together as Australian Schoolboys in 2007 and 13 years later, have moulded games which complement one another in Rennie’s two playmaker attack.

“James is very attacking minded, he’s very creative and defensively, I like to get amongst things,” To’omua said.

“You throw Nic in there as well. We have a good little group there with a lot of experience and we all just really care about the jersey, to be honest with you.

“We really want to see the best and we have been through some hard times in the jersey. We want to put it back to where it belongs.

“It’s always exciting working with guys like that because we’ve been through a little bit together and we want to have some good times as well.”

White, O’Connor and To’omua now have 135 Tests experience between them and have hit the point in their careers where the near misses in the pursuit of significant silverware is no longer acceptable.

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Recently retired Wallabies Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper have spoken about the frustration that came with the absence of top tier trophies during their time as Australian stars.

To’omua doesn’t want to look back at his career in the same way.

“Being a part of [the Wallabies] is great and exciting but after a few caps, you want to leave a mark,” To’omua said. “You want to be remembered, and remembered for the right reasons. Trophies are those reasons.

“That’s more long term. But we have wa chance in the next few weeks to get our own little bit of history.

‘The desire to do that is huge. And as you get a little bit older, you start looking at that a bit more because you want to leave rugby in a better place and for want of a better word, a legacy.”

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The stress of Bledisloe week a little different for Wallabies’ Matt Toomua this time


Rennie clearly has a match-day 23 in mind but is keeping players on their toes and in the most debated position of the lot, five-eighth.

With limited preparation, one wouldn’t have been surprised if Rennie pulled aside the successful candidate weeks out from the first Test of 2020 to give them an early heads-up.

Unless Toomua has an excellent poker face, he seemed genuinely in the dark as to who would wear the Wallabies No.10 jersey on Sunday – be it himself, James O’Connor, or even a wildcard in Brumbies rookie Noah Lolesio.

Toomua could even line up up at inside-centre, given he’s been training there as well.

“I think it’s pretty open there, which is nice and stressful for guys like myself,” Toomua said. “It is a little bit of a blank slate where there are four options there [Waratahs No.10 Will Harrison is also the in the squad]. In the last few years we’ve had great options at 10 but you’ve just got an idea because we were later into the season or we’d seen the way that Cheik liked to pick his fly-halves.

“I don’t think anyone would be disrespecting a Bledisloe team and naming a team full of debutants. We’ve got to develop players and develop a squad for the future as well. I’m sure it’ll be a balance.”

In coming days, players will get their first real understanding of where they sit with Rennie, who has been analysing their every on-field move from afar for almost 12 months since he was appointed Michael Cheika’s successor following a failed World Cup campaign in Japan.

Will Toomua wear the No.10 jersey this weekend for the Wallabies? Credit:Andrew Phan/Wallabies Media

Players have given glowing reviews of Rennie during his short time in charge and why wouldn’t they, given there are so many spots up for grabs.

But as Toomua explained, Rennie and his predecessor are a little different.

“We’re almost in a honeymoon period,” Toomua said. “He hasn’t dropped me yet, he hasn’t dropped us yet, we haven’t had to experience too much stress in that sense … but it’s been great. It’s been a good breath of fresh air in that sense.

“Michael did a great job and he put in a great shift for the Australian rugby community. He got us to a [World Cup] final. [Rennie] has definitely got a few different tendencies. He loves a little sing-a-long, he loves all these different things, it’s been good. A lot of it’s new but he seems like a very calm and composed character, which is quite nice.”

Toomua has played a quarter of his 52 Tests against the All Blacks, so knows a thing or two about the vibe of a Bledisloe week.

He debuted against New Zealand in 2013 – a game the Wallabies lost 47-29, before an 11-point defeat in Wellington the following week.

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“My first Test was quite a stressful week actually,” Toomua said. “I remember it was definitely a step up in that sense.

“We had a new coach as well [in Ewen McKenzie]. There was a bit of spotlight on the fly-half position at the time. Sometimes you go to a presser and there’d be maybe one person there. There was just more people, more interest. I found the week after was a big relief and I could just get on with my rugby. These are emotions everyone making their debut is probably going to have to experience at some stage.”

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Wallabies and Melbourne Rebels star Matt Toomua announced as Rugby Union Players’ Association president


Melbourne Rebels and Wallabies playmaker Matt Toomua has replaced former Waratahs hooker Damien Fitzpatrick as the president of the Rugby Union Players’ Association.

Toomua, 30, said it was a “great privilege” to be his teammates’ primary representative for the players’ union.

Matt Toomua playing for the Melbourne Rebels.

Matt Toomua playing for the Melbourne Rebels. Credit:Getty

“As someone who has heavily benefited from the work done in the past by former players and RUPA delegates, I am very honoured to have this opportunity to assist our players and the game,” Toomua said.

“We are fortunate to have some great experience in current and past players, along with industry experts guiding our journey. We will need all this experience as we navigate our way through these challenging times.”



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Ellyse Perry and Matt Toomua split: Stars announce end to their marriage


Australian cricket superstar Ellyse Perry and Aussie rugby union player Matt Toomua have called time on their relationship.

The sporting power couple, who tied the knot in 2015, released a joint statement confirming the news.

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Perry eyeing return



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