Rugby

New Leicester deal rules Toomua out of Wallaby contention

2017-11-13 18:56
Matt Toomua (Getty)

London - Australia's Matt Toomua has effectively ruled himself out of the 2019 World Cup in Japan after signing a contract extension with English club Leicester.

The 27-year-old playmaker joined the Premiership giants on a three-year deal in 2016, a move which allowed for the possibility he could return to Australian club rugby in 2019.

But Monday's announcement means the 31-times capped Toomua will remain unavailable for international duty as Australia -- who play England at Twickenham on Saturday -- do not select overseas-based players for Tests unless they have already won at least 60 caps.

Toomua suffered a knee injury against Racing 92 just two games into his Tigers career but has worked his way back to full fitness to form a midfield partnership with England flyhalf George Ford.

"I'm very excited about committing to the club for a few more years," Toomua said in a club statement. "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here.

"Despite having an injury-interrupted first year, I have loved being a part of the club and am very excited about our ambitions in the near future."

Toomua, the husband of Australia women's cricket star Ellyse Perry, who scored an Ashes double century against England in Sydney last week, added: "Leicester Tigers have a rich history and it's a privilege to have the opportunity to add to it."

Leicester coach Matt O'Connor was delighted to have retained the services of a player he first worked with at Australia's Brumbies Super Rugby franchise.

"Matt is a world-class operator in attack and defence," said O'Connor. "He brings out the best in the players around him, he's a great decision-maker and communicator in the backline and everyone appreciates the quality of his work there."

News of Toomua's contract extension came just days after Leicester announced they had signed Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau who, having made 80 Test appearances, remains available for Australia selection.

In addition to Toomua, Leicester announced Monday that several other players had signed contract extensions, including British and Irish Lions prop Dan Cole.

Coley is an outstanding player and a great example of a player who has come through the ranks at the club, earning his place in the senior squad and progressing to become first choice for club and country," said O'Connor of the front row, who has 75 England caps.

"He is among a core of senior professionals who have come through together here and are now in key leadership roles within the squad."

Tonga wing Telusa Veianu, England flanker Mike Williams and lock Greg Bateman have also agreed new deals.

Veainu arrived at Welford Road after the 2015 World Cup and O'Connor said of the 26-year-old: "Telusa has been in outstanding form and is a key player for us.

"He's a popular guy in the squad, he works very hard and he is still improving as a player.

"We have some top-class players in our backline and Telusa is central to that."

Read more on:    leicester  |  wallabies  |  matt toomua  |  rugby
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