Matt Toomua has an insight into opponents England from his time with Leicester Tigers, but his assessment of their “weaknesses” will be of little use in the Rugby World Cup quarter-final on Saturday.
Toomua spent three years in the Premiership with Leicester and is set to come face-to-face with a number of former Tigers team-mates in Oita this weekend.
The versatile 29-year-old is among the Australia replacements to take on an England side including the likes of Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs and Jonny May, with George Ford and Dan Cole on the bench.
Asked for his thoughts on his ex-colleagues, Toomua told a news conference: “I know all their weaknesses. I can list them now for you if you want.
“Manu is a terrible snooker player, George Ford never pays for a beer, Ben Youngs isn’t even the best rugby player in his family, let alone his country.
“The chicken, Jonny May, is very weird, and Dan Cole doesn’t have a personality. I’ve just been telling everybody about that.”
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) October 17, 2019
Shifting to a more serious tone, he added: “No, we had a great relationship with them and one thing we do know is they’re all quality players. We were fortunate for the last couple of years when Manu came back from injury, we just saw him grow in stature.
“He probably grows the bigger the game as well. He probably plays his best rugby in Tests, and that’s the sign of a true champion player.
“Obviously Manu is a name that sticks out for a lot of reasons – he is a strong carrier and makes a lot of big plays. But it is probably about trying to shut down his time and space.
“He is at 12 now so he is a bit closer to the play, so it might be a little easier in that sense. I’m sure they’re working out ways to give him some ball one-on-one at full steam.”
While Tuilagi is a very real threat to Australia from the outset, Ford lost the number 10 shirt to Owen Farrell despite an impressive tournament to date.
Captain Farrell said: “I’ve played fly-half plenty of times before, I’m fine with playing fly-half. It’s more about how I can fit in the team and hopefully put us in a place to perform well at the weekend.”
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