SYDNEY, Australia - Matt Toomua has put his hand up for next year's World Cup after inking a deal with Rugby Australia and the Melbourne Rebels that will see the veteran return to Super Rugby next season.
The Wallabies announced the two-and-a-half year contract Wednesday and it means the 28-year-old utility back is immediately available for Australia's Bledisloe Cup campaign, which kicks of on August 18 in Sydney when the Wallabies host New Zealand.
"As well as a chance to represent my country at a World Cup again, the return home also allows me to be closer to both my wife and family after nearly three years on the opposite side of the world," said Toomua, who is married to Australia women's cricket star Ellyse Perry. "The Rebels are a Club on the rise and I was really impressed after having a few conversations with (coach) Dave (Wessels) about his plans for the future," he said in a statement.
Toomua is signed up to English club Leicester until 2020 but is contractually allowed to leave early if the opportunity to play for the Wallabies arises, he said. He will play the upcoming season with the Leicester Tigers before joining the Rebels in his hometown of Melbourne midway through the 2019 Super Rugby campaign.
"I am still very much a Tigers player and, if anything, being able to have this all sorted is more positive than to have a decision hanging over my head," Toomua added.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said the 33-Test playmaker would provide a "massive boost" to the Australian squad. "I’m really excited that Matt has decided to return home," he said. "He wanted to come back to play rugby in Australia again and also to represent Australia again."