Rugby Union

License article

Brumbies' Matt Toomua says Sonny Bill Williams and Aaron Cruden best pairing in Super Rugby

ACT Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua says he has faced some impressive playmaking pairings in Super Rugby, but Waikato Chiefs' Aaron Cruden and Sonny Bill Williams is the most skillful.

Toomua also felt Larkham rugby was back at the Brumbies – something he feels he is only now ready to unleash on the competition.

Cruden comes into the Chiefs' line-up at flyhalf for his first game of the season and will team up with inside-centre Williams – a combination Toomua sees as extremely dangerous.

Williams is a larger-than-life personality, switching between the NRL, Super Rugby and boxing with ease.

Williams and Cruden have the ability to find teammates as they are tackled, increasing their attacking threat in open play.

"Cruden probably offers a bit more of that offload game, he's probably one of silkiest 10s in the competition," Toomua said.


"He's been one of the form 10s in the last few years in the world. I've played against him a lot, played in the 20s against each other and played against each other a few times last year.

"Sonny outside him offers a huge threat as well. There's no bigger name in Australian or New Zealand sport than Sonny Bill, so that'll be a huge challenge for us.

"Getting them down is one thing, stopping them offload is another, so we'll look do that in pods of threes – trying to get guys around the ball there.

"Those two individually are very dangerous and when you've got the combination you've got to be wary about it ... we've come up against similar combinations but to be fair I think this is one of the most skillful ones."

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has been moulding the backline since 2011, with this year his first running the team on his own.

Their first-round thrashing of the Queensland Reds hinting at a return to the glory days — when Larkham was pulling the strings in the No.10 jersey for both the Brumbies and the Wallabies.

Now in his eighth Super Rugby season, Toomua finally feels he is ready to play Larkham's expansive and creative game.

After a knee injury cut the 2012 season short, the 25-year-old has been pulling the strings for the Brumbies for the past two years.

He felt it was a natural evolution due to a few factors – different coaches and the team maturing together.

"It's been a combination of a few things. Obviously we had a different coaching staff a few years ago," Toomua said.

"I think to be fair lot of us weren't ready for that kind of footy. Steve's adapted and evolved it quite well.

"This style a few years ago, I don't think I would have been up to.

"It's nice that we've built a solid base and we've got a game that we can go back to if we have to, but for us now we want to put the foot on the throat, so to speak, when it's necessary."


Friday: ACT Brumbies v Waikato Chiefs at New Plymouth, 7.35pm. TV time: Live on Fox Sports 2.