(Reuters) - Utility back Matt Toomua is looking forward to Australia’s final World Cup warmup but may not have his Samoan father’s full support when the Wallabies play the Pacific islanders in Sydney on Saturday.
Australia meet the Samoans for the first time since 2011, when Robbie Deans’s men suffered a shock 32-23 loss to the islanders in a warmup before the World Cup in New Zealand.
Toomua, one of seven players with Samoan heritage in the Wallabies squad, is hopeful of claiming a berth in Michael Cheika’s starting 15 after coming off the bench in all four tests this season.
“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,” 46-cap Toomua said at the Wallabies training camp in New Caledonia.
He added, “ ... 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.”
Australia, thrashed 36-0 by the All Blacks at Eden Park in their last test, are expected to rest a number of key players for Samoa but flanker David Pocock could be named for his first match this season as he recovers from a calf injury.
The 29-year-old Toomua, who is in line for his second World Cup campaign, said he would love to be handed a starting spot but would be happy to come off the bench and play anywhere Cheika asked.
“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,” he added.
New Caledonia brings to mind images of beaches and Pacific sunsets but Toomua said there was no holiday vibe at the Wallabies camp.
“It’s pretty much we get up, train, eat, sleep, repeat,” Toomua said.
“Sessions starting at 6 a.m. 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.”
Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford