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Toomua: Samoan Test dividing loyalties

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Matt Toomua: 'There are five or six guys with Samoan heritage in the Wallabies squad and my dad will be torn'

The Wallabies’ training camp in Noumea for the World Cup has been anything but an island holiday, according to inside back Matt Toomua.

Preparing for the Japan tournament which starts on September 20, Toomua said the Wallabies had been putting in long hours in hot conditions in New Caledonia to ensure they’re at their best for the showpiece event. “It’s pretty much we get up, train, eat, sleep, repeat,” Toomua said. “Sessions starting at 6am for training and late in the night too, but it’s been great and everyone is working hard for the World Cup and in the same direction.”

The Wallabies will play a farewell Test against Samoa at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta on Saturday, which will be extra special for Toomua. His father Ieru was born in Samoa and Toomua said his dad’s loyalties would be split.

“The Test is against a very strong Samoan team at home, so it’s the last chance for us to play in front of our fans before Japan,” Toomua said. “There are five or six guys with Samoan heritage in the squad and my dad will be torn, he’ll be wearing half and half, so if I get a chance to play he will be excited as we have a lot of family in both camps.”

After playing off the bench in all of Australia’s Tests this year Toomua is set for his first start, with inside centre Samu Kerevi likely to be rested. “I’d love a starting spot,” the 29-year-old said. “I’m a jack of all trades and filling in where I can but I’ve been getting a fair few minutes so I’m happy filling in where I can, starting or off the bench.”

The Wallabies, who name their team on Thursday, are likely to field a side including fringe players, with a number of their stars rested given their big Test season and training workload.

Young outside back Jack Maddocks and back row Rob Valetini joined an expanded squad this week, with Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Liam Wright, Tom Banks, Luke Jones and Tatafu Polota-Nau already training with the World Cup contingent.

Flanker David Pocock is expected to have his first Test run of the year after a troublesome calf injury kept him sidelined since March.

– AAP

WATCH: Australia’s Matt Toomua talks about facing Samoa

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Matt Toomua: 'There are five or six guys with Samoan heritage in the Wallabies squad and my dad will be torn'