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Leicester Tigers will force Toomua and Polota-Nau to fly back during Rugby Championship

By Ian Cameron

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Leicester Tigers will force both Tatafu Polota-Nau and Matt Toomua to fly back to the UK during the Rugby Championship the club have revealed.


82-Test veteran Polota-Nau has been selected in the Wallabies Bledisloe Cup squad after Michael Cheika elected to rest the 33-year old in the June Ireland Series.

However, should either Toomua or Polota-Nau be retained by Cheika, they will be expected to return to the UK on the Rugby Championship’s rest weekends.

In a statement, Leicester Tigers said: “If retained in the final squad for the upcoming Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship series, the pair are expected to return to Tigers during the Rugby Championship rest periods, which coincide with rounds 1 and 4 of the Gallagher Premiership.”

That fact that the Tigers will force each player to make the massive 19,000 mile return trip to the UK suggests the club are keen on a getting their fair share of their marquee signings.

If the pair are required to do this, it could inform Cheika’s selection choices, with the very real prospect of jet lag and travel fatigue likely to affect both players if retained.


Last week it was revealed that Toomua would return to Australia in 2019, something the Tigers have agreed to. News that both players will be out of action for the opening rounds of the competition will hardly delight Matt Connor and the wider Tigers setup.

Unlike Toomua however, Polota-Nau qualifies under the Giteau Law and could potentially play for Australia in the 2019 Rugby World Cup while still being based in the UK.

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Toomua put pen to paper last week on a two and a half year deal with Rugby Australia and the Melbourne Rebels, to return to Vodafone Super Rugby next season.

The veteran playmaker is now immediately eligible for the Qantas Wallabies’ Bledisloe Cup campaign which kicks off at ANZ Stadium against New Zealand on Saturday 18 August.

The 33-Test utility back last played for the Wallabies in the opening Bledisloe Cup Test of 2016 before joining Leicester Tigers in England’s Premiership. He played this weekend at 10 in an Australia XV that beat a Super Rugby SV in a trial match at the Leichhardt Oval.

The squad features six uncapped players including rookie sensation Jordan Petaia, who shone in Friday night’s Bledisloe Cup trial at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney.

The squad will be revised following the camp in Cessnock with the Qantas Wallabies to reconvene next Sunday at a fan day in Blacktown in Sydney’s west.

Wallabies 36-man squad

Jermaine Ainsley* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 22)
Allan Alaalatoa (23 Tests, Brumbies, 24)
Rory Arnold (15 Tests, Brumbies, 28)
Adam Coleman (23 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
Folau Faingaa* (uncapped, Brumbies, 23)
Ned Hanigan (13 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)
Michael Hooper (c) (82 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)
Sekope Kepu (94 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 32)
Tolu Latu (7 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 25)
Brandon Paenga-Amosa (3 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)
David Pocock (69 Tests, Brumbies, 30)
Tatafu Polota-Nau (82 Tests, Leicester, 33)
Tom Robertson (21 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)
Izack Rodda (7 Tests, Queensland Reds, 21)
Pete Samu (3 Tests, Brumbies, 26)
Rob Simmons (85 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
Scott Sio (46 Tests, Brumbies, 26)
Caleb Timu (2 Tests, Queensland Reds, 24)
Lukhan Tui (7 Tests, Queensland Reds, 21)
Taniela Tupou (4 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

Tom Banks* (uncapped, Brumbies, 24)
Kurtley Beale (74 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
Israel Folau (65 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
Bernard Foley (58 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 28)
Will Genia (90 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)
Dane Haylett-Petty (21 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29)
Reece Hodge (27 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 23)
Marika Koroibete (11 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
Jack Maddocks* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 21)
Billy Meakes* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 27)
Sefa Naivalu (7 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
Jordan Petaia* (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 18)
Nick Phipps (64 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
Joe Powell (4 Tests, Brumbies, 24)
Curtis Rona (3 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)
Matt Toomua (33 Tests, Leicester/Melbourne Rebels, 28)
*denotes uncapped

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