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'25-metre forward pass': Matt To'omua's welcome to Super Rugby moment

By Kim Ekin
Matt To'omua takes the field for the Brumbies. Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

2013 was a breakout season for both Matt To’omua and the Brumbies. After being a fringe player since his debut in 2008,  To’omua cracked the starting unit and shared the playmaking responsibilities with Christian Leali’ifano, helping his side to the top seed in the Australian Conference.

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The Chiefs claimed the top seed in a dramatic final round, where both the Brumbies and Bulls had a chance to also claim a home semi-final.

The Bulls fell to a 13-30 loss at the hand of the Stormers while the Brumbies faced the Western Force. It was a tight contest but the Force pulled out a narrow victory, a Brumbies loss that To’omua conceded “was partly my fault actually”.

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“We were down by three,” The former Wallaby recalled on the Gits and Genia show. “They kicked a penalty to go up by six and he missed it. I caught it in the in-goal, I forgot to put it down and I threw it to Tevita (Kuridrani) on the 22 so it was about a 25-metre forward pass.”

The veteran recalled the story with a laugh, claiming “It has to be (a record) mate.”

“I’m just trying to speed it up thinking if get down there and we win it’s a home semi-final. We didn’t get a home semi.

“Someone’s come up and tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘You forgot to put it down, mate’. And so we had to travel to Pretoria.”

History repeated itself just the following week when another missed penalty came sailing down To’omua’s channel, and while he wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice, the crowd were very amused all the same.

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“I copped a bit (of grief) next week when we played in Canberra stadium. They kicked a kick and missed it and I grabbed it and put it down and the people in the crowd all started clapping for me. It was brutal.”

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The play was a humorous blemish on an otherwise outstanding season for the young playmaker. A finals appearance just a few weeks later was followed by a Wallabies debut with that particular incident quickly put to the back of his mind.

The Super Rugby final was labelled by the man himself an overachievement for the Brumbies team which he said had plenty of great players, but not enough “mavericks” to compete with the X-factor of the Chiefs.

To’omua referenced the travel of playing in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in consecutive weeks after an 18-game season as a factor in the Brumbies’ struggles in the final, adding to his regret over the play.

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