Wallabies don't want to be 'irresponsible'
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Usually studying a Super Rugby game plan at this time of year, Matt Toomua is instead helping plot a return to play in two months time.
The Wallabies and Melbourne Rebels playmaker is busier than ever despite the coronavirus-enforced competition shutdown.
Toomua is the players’ representative on the national seven-man Return to Play Committee who have been tasked with getting a domestic-focused competition underway.
Aiming for early July, the committee is set to meet again on Monday to deliver a list of criteria to work through to confirm a start date.
He’s also the Rebels’ representative on RUPA, who negotiated pay-cuts with Rugby Australia for the Super Rugby cohort earlier this month.
The 30-year-old joked he had to do some squats while in online meetings to also accommodate the Rebels’ daily training plan under the watchful eye of his superstar cricketer wife, Ellyse Perry, who recently underwent surgery on her injured hamstring.
Toomua said while his priority was to get the competition started again and look after player welfare, the experience was good preparation for life post-rugby.
“I love sport and the admin part of it as well,” he told AAP.
“This is in a weird way provided a little bit of an opportunity for me to learn on the run, albeit in some extreme conditions.”
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While not as bullish as the NRL, who are targeting a May 28 re-start, Toomua said he hoped they could soon firm up a date for Australian Super Rugby teams but felt it was “irresponsible” to name one with so much still to figure out.
“We don’t have something for players to aim towards, publicly anyway,” he said.
“The international nature of Super Rugby complicates it and even if it is a domestic-focused competition the Sunwolves [from Tokyo] are part of our conference so that presents a challenge.
“We are definitely working towards a date and are reverse engineering it from there while keeping in mind government regulations and logistical implications and player welfare so there are a lot of things to take into consideration.
“I think it would be irresponsible for us to say that this is the date and figure it out from there.”
Melbourne Rebels players are scattered throughout the country, given the green-light last month to train from the home states.
Toomua and Perry, who is on crutches, remain in Melbourne enjoying time together after usually being separated for long periods due to their sporting careers.
“We’ve been away for three years and are now in each other’s pockets,” he said.
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