Toomua rejects fears of Wallaby exodus
ESPN Staff
January 13, 2014
Toomua has signaled that he will remain in Australia after his contract expires at the end of the year © Getty Images

Wallabies and ACT Brumbies star Matt Toomua has told Rugby Heaven that he still believes the Wallabies jersey is still the number one goal for young rugby stars and has rejected fears that there will be a mass exodus of Australian stars after the World Cup next year.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie will be attending a Brumbies training session on Monday, less than a week after Test and Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen made a shock announcement he will be quitting Australian Rugby this year for a lucrative French contract.

Toomua is also off contract at the end of the season and will be in high demand from rival Australian teams and international clubs, and after Mowen's surprise announcement concerns have been raised that young Wallabies would sacrifice a Test career for cashed-up overseas clubs. But Toomua signaled his intention to forge a long Test career.

''Benny's situation is unique, he's got a young family and he wants to spend time with them. I can vouch for that as a guy who hangs out with him a lot,'' Toomua said. ''I don't know what guys are going to do post the World Cup (next year). Four years ago they said there was going to be a mass exodus after the World Cup and there wasn't.

''I don't know what the flow-on effect (from Mowen's exit) will be, but there's still a lot to be achieved here and a Wallabies jersey does hold a lot of weight, otherwise everyone would be overseas. It's not about playing two games, it's about playing a lot of games, and personally that's how I feel.''

Toomua is yet to start negotiations with the Brumbies or the Australian Rugby Union and is one of the six young stars the Brumbies will be fighting to keep as Christian Leali'ifano, Nic White, Scott Sio, Jesse Mogg and Scott Fardy also finish their contracts at the Brumbies at the end of the 2014 Super Rugby season.

Coach Stephen Larkham will have to work with a $4.5 million salary cap as well as ARU negotiations in order to try to keep the core of his side together.

Despite Mowen's announcement of his departure the Brumbies will leave him as the club's captain for the year with Toomua, White, Leali'ifano, Moore, Pat McCabe and David Pocock all candidates to take over the job next year.

But Larkham said the Brumbies wanted to avoid captaincy confusion this season and will not employ a succession plan.

''There are a number of guys who will put their hands up this year and we'll wait to see how those guys develop,'' Larkham said. ''(Toomua) has shown leadership and has developed. A lot of those guys have Wallabies experience now.

''Ben's the best person for the job at this stage and the guys in the leadership group prior to Christmas did a really good job. They'll put their hands up through this year, but we'll decide on it after this season.''

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