Representative Honours: Australian Schoolboys 2007, Australia Under-20 2009, Australian Wallabies 2009-
Senior Tours: Japan & Europe 2009; UK/Europe 2013
ACT Brumbies playmaker MATT TOOMUA made his long-awaited Test debut during a breakthrough 2013 campaign where he was a regular and important contributor to a rejuvenated Qantas Wallabies backline.
Toomua exceed all expectations in his debut season for Australia as he earned five starting opportunities as part of 10 total caps he received under incoming Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.
While many expected McKenzie to opt for playmaker Quade Cooper in the early stages of his international coaching career, it was in-fact Toomua who was chosen in the number 10 jersey for the opening two Test matches of the Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship against New Zealand.
Team results didn’t go as hoped but Toomua never failed to impress, highlighting why McKenzie chose the Melbourne-born talent after he also guided the ACT Brumbies to their first Super Rugby Final appearance since 2004 earlier in the year.
Toomua wouldn’t be denied a starting position and eventually fought his way back into the matchday XV when fellow Brumbies teammate Christian Leali’ifano was ruled out of Australia’s third Bledisloe Test due to an ankle injury.
Toomua grasped the opportunity in the number 12 jersey with both hands as he failed to relinquish his stranglehold on the jersey until a hamstring injury ended his incredible 2013 campaign two-games early.
An injury replacement on the 2009 Spring Tour, Toomua made the briefest of appearances for his country during a midweek 31-3 win over the Cardiff Blues fiveyears ago. Unfortunately the young flyhalf collided with a Cardiff player in the early moments, being forced from the field with a broken jaw in just the fourth minute of play. The injury was a tough break.
It also set the tone for the next three years where various mishaps have cut him down; most notably a knee injury last term which took him out after just three games, when he had finally appeared set to step out of the shadow cast over him at the Brumbies by the presence of the 92-cap ex-Wallaby flyhalf Matt Giteau.
After returning from injury, Toomua has been the first-choice flyhalf at the Brumbies the past two seasons, guiding them to their first Super Rugby final since 2004. While the Brumbies fell 27-22 to the Chiefs in the final, Toomua played a hand in some memorable wins for the Canberra-based side in 2013.
The flyhalf steered the ship in their historic win over the British & Irish Lions, the first for an Australian club side since the Queensland Reds in 1971, and sending Tevita Kuridrani over for the match-winning try in the Brumbies’ semi-final win over the Bulls in Pretoria (the first time the South African side had ever lost a Super Rugby playoff match in Pretoria).
Born in Victoria but educated in Queensland, Toomua was just the second player after flanker Julian Salvi to have been contracted directly from school by the Brumbies when he was signed during his last year at Brisbane State High School – the institution that produced Queensland Wallaby Greats Paul Carozza, Peter Slattery and David Wilson.
The Brumbies swooped for Toomua after he enjoyed a glittering Schoolboy career, guiding Queensland to consecutive Australian Schools titles, which earned him selection in the national Schoolboys side for 2007. Following in the immediate footsteps of Wallabies Kurtley Beale and Quade Cooper as the Australian Schools flyhalf, Toomua outdid the exploits of his forbears as he steered Australia to wins over England Under-18s (11-3), Samoan Schools (50-9) and Australia’s first win over New Zealand Schools (23-17) for a decade in the annual trans-Tasman Schoolboys clash.
Toomua, who has Samoan heritage - his parents and older sister live in Kona, Hawaii – made his Super Rugby debut against the Hurricanes during his maiden season in Canberra, his first year out of school. He played two seasons with the Australian Under-20s, steering the junior Wallabies to the final of the IRB Under-20 World Cup in Argentina during his second term with the team in 2010.
Toomua also gained experience playing for Western Province in South Africa’s Currie Cup provincial competition during a month long stint in 2009, arousing interest from the Stormers selectors. The new Melbourne Rebels were also interested but Toomua opted to stay put, in the expectation that the opportunity for regular play would present itself. This year, it seems it finally has.