Matt Toomua has put himself in the frame for a Rugby Championship call-up by signing a deal with Rugby Australia and the Rebels, and Leicester Tigers have moved to fill the void by landing Kyle Eastmond.
Toomua has been outstanding since joining the Tigers from the Brumbies in 2016, but the centre will return to his homeland in a bid to resume his Australia career.
The versatile 28-year-old will feature for Leicester during Rugby Championship rest periods and for the remainder of the 2018-19 season at the end of the tournament.
Toomua will leave the Tigers when the campaign draws to a close to join Super Rugby side the Rebels on a two-and-a-half-year deal with the aim of sealing a place in the Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup squad.
“I feel very fortunate to have experienced the rugby culture up here. I still have plenty of work to do in the Tigers jersey but I know I’ll be returning back to Australia a better player,” Matt Toomua on his time in the #TigersFamily. pic.twitter.com/h9HcxjEpcW
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) August 1, 2018
“Leicester have been fantastic to me throughout my time here. The option to return to Australia was something that did exist within my contract, only if a chance to represent the Wallabies was there and, with a Rugby World Cup next year, was ultimately one I couldn’t turn down,” Toomua said.
“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.
“The Rebels are a club on the rise and I was really impressed after having a few conversations with Dave [Wessels] about his plans for the future.
“I am still very much a Tigers player and, if anything, being able to have this all sorted is more positive than have a decision hanging over my head. I absolutely love Leicester, have become close friends with all of my team-mates here and want to go out in a successful way.”
Eastmond arrives at Welford Road after the versatile back was released by Premiership rivals Wasps.
The dual-code international has won six England caps, but it is four years since he last played for his country.
KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta