Rugby Union

Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua gives Queensland Reds recruit Karmichael Hunt a 10

Queensland Reds recruit Karmichael Hunt's hard-hitting "crack" in the No.10 jersey had ACT Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua wondering if the codehopper was trying to steal his thunder.

Toomua was genuinely impressed with Hunt's stint in the playmaking role, but had no idea who his opposite No.10 will be when the Brumbies host the Reds for their Super Rugby season opener at Canberra Stadium on Friday.

Brumbies five-eighth Matt Toomua knows he will have a lot of competition from Karmichael Hunt.
Brumbies five-eighth Matt Toomua knows he will have a lot of competition from Karmichael Hunt. Photo: Getty Images

But he was expecting a physical night out in the office regardless, and backed Hunt for a potential World Cup campaign with the Wallabies.

Toomua watched Hunt leading the Reds back line in their final trial, against the Canterbury Crusaders on Friday, with interest.

Karmichael Hunt of the Reds during last week's trial match against the  Rebels.
Karmichael Hunt of the Reds during last week's trial match against the Rebels. Photo: Getty Images

He felt the former Brisbane Broncos fullback could easily handle the flyhalf duties if called upon – or equally slot in at fullback or the centres as well.

It has the Brumbies guessing where the Bronco-turned-Gold Coast Sun-turned-Red might line up, with the possible return of former Wallabies No.10 James O'Connor from injury and illness further clouding the mix.

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"I honestly don't know and the Reds have done well in that sense that they've kept us guessing," Toomua said.

"First game of the year and there's a lot of unknowns. The bloke at 10 is unsure as well.

"I dare say him being there for 50 minutes and not having a go at 15 might suggest he'll get another crack ... I think there's a very good chance he could be at 10."

Toomua recalled asking a mate to get Hunt's autograph for him when he was a youngster, loving the way Hunt would bring the ball out from fullback for the Broncos back in his NRL days.

As the 25-year-old Brumby talked about Hunt's game, you could have been forgiven for thinking he was talking about himself.

While Toomua's defensive abilities have set him apart from most flyhalfs, it seems Hunt is cut from a similar cloth.

If they do face off in the No.10 jerseys, it could lead to an intriguing battle of who can land the first shot on their counterpart.

Toomua said he could even form part of the Wallabies' World Cup campaign.

"[Hunt]'s trying to steal my thunder," he laughed.

"Karmichael has a genuine crack, physically you saw him put on a few good shots, attacking-wise he's not going to die wondering, he goes to the line, doesn't mind the responsibility of kicking.

"He's clearly a good athlete ... potentially, obviously, he could play at the Wallabies.

"Where, I don't know. He probably has less idea than I do. Wait and see, the early signs are good."

Toomua didn't think that physical battle would be limited to the playmakers and was predicting a brutal encounter across the park against the Reds.

While he was impressed with how Queensland finished their pre-season, he was equally buoyant about the Brumbies' final hitout last weekend against the Waikato Highlanders.

He felt the first half in particular in Wagga Wagga had them perfectly positioned to start the season off on the right note.

"Our trial games have been really good, pretty happy with how we're progressing, especially against the Highlanders," Toomua said.

"Obviously we lost the game, but that first half looked sharp, but Super Rugby is a different kettle of fish.

"You've got a lot more nerves, you are on the big stage and you've got a team on the other side that wants to do the same thing you want to do, and that's win."

SUPER RUGBY

Friday: ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium, 7.40pm

Tickets available at Ticketek