Matt Toomua a priority signing for Rebels

Tue, 13/04/2021, 07:17 am
Melissa Woods - AAP
by Melissa Woods - AAP
Rebels Captain Matt To'omua celebrates the Rebels victory over the NSW Waratahs at AAMI Park

Melbourne are hopeful business connections can help convince Wallabies veteran Matt Toomua to remain with the Super Rugby club.

While big money overseas beckons, the Rebels are hopeful off-contract Wallabies playmaker Matt Toomua feels that his future lies in Melbourne.

Watch every minute of Super Rugby AU on Stan Sport. Start your Free Sport Trial Now

And they are also looking to convince Toomua not to take up a sabbatical next year, following Test captain Michael Hooper overseas.

Toomua and Rebels captain Dane Haylett-Petty are the only other Wallabies players able to top up their contracts, which were hit hard by COVID-19 pay cuts, with a short-term stint in Japan or Europe.

The Super Rugby side and Rugby Australia see Toomua as a priority re-signing - apart from being a major on-field talent he's one of the few Rebels with a profile in the AFL-mad city.

"Matt is very much the top of the tree in regards to priorities," Melbourne boss Baden Stephenson told AAP.

"He's playing good footy, has been our captain with Dane out, our goal-kicker, and someone that we really want to retain for 2022 and 2023.

"Clearly he wants to play in the World Cup so we're working away to try to make sure it's attractive for him to stay."

To'omua finds Lomani on the hard line

Melbourne admit that they need to offer more than money, unable to compete with the massive contracts off-shore, and hope to tap into 31-year-old Toomua's business interests and aspirations beyond rugby.

"Matt is slightly different as I know he's done a lot of study and he's aspirational to work in sport post his career," Stephenson said.

"He knows the networks and the people that can help him here in Melbourne.

"Clearly there's pressure from international markets but Matt and his manager do put value on the non-financial support and opportunities so it's certainly not a finance-only situation."

Toomua told AAP he was still working through his future but his preference was to stay in Australia and be a part of the Wallabies' 2023 World Cup campaign.

"A sabbatical is still an option but I've got to figure out a few more things before I start thinking about that," said Toomua, who has 54 Test caps.

"My preference is to stay at home - it's a lot more complicated nowadays with the international market and with COVID and at my age I'm probably closer to the end than the start so I've got to start thinking about life beyond rugby and what that looks like.

"I sincerely hope we can find a solution that allows me to stay."

MORE:

BEST OF BOTH: Anstee remains committed to Force

OLD SCHOOL: Valetini's aggressive push for gold

TOTW: Round Eight Team Of The Week

Sunday afternoon Rugby is back in Melbourne this weekend when the Rebels take on the Brumbies at AAMI Park, kicking off at 2:00pm AEST, the home side will look to keep their finals hopes alive following a narrow loss to the Force last weekend.  You can catch all the action LIVE on Stan Sport, click here to purchase tickets.

Share
Darcy Swain is hoping the Brumbies will bounce back after their heartbreaking Final defeat. Photo: Getty Images
Brumbies hope to bounce back for NZ teams
Sydney Uni winning the line-out over Manly. Photo: Karen Watson
Club Corner Round Up: Rivalries ignite as top teams are challenged
One of the main highlights for the Rebels: Reclaiming the Weary Dunlop Shield. Photo: Getty Images.
Super Rugby Trans-Tasman preview - Rebels
Jack Maddocks is hoping a fresh approach can help turn around his fortunes ahead of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman. Photo: Getty Images
Jack Maddocks taking fresh approach into Trans-Tasman after tough season
Rugby.com.au Logo

The Rugby.com.au are a proud part of Rugby AU

© 2021 Australian Rugby. All rights reserved.