ACT Brumbies player Joseph Tomane. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Just days ago, it looked like Joe Tomane could run on to ANZ Stadium for the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup, instead he will take to North Oval for the winless Uni-Norths Owls in the final round of the John I Dent Cup.
While 10 of his Brumbies teammates were selected to play for the Wallabies, Tomane missed out and instead got the first flight back to Canberra in time to train with the Owls.
Far from being disappointed at missing selection, Tomane is ''really excited'' to be able to run out for his local club and have the chance to give back to local rugby.
''I trained with the boys on Thursday night and they were really sharp,'' Tomane said. ''It is making me even more excited.''
The Brumbies winger said he was surprised the Owls had not yet won a game.
''They were all very impressive, it's a great group of guys,'' he said. ''I was shocked how skilled they were. They have really good application and a really good attitude.''
The winger hoped he could help the side to a win in its season finale.
''I'll bring a little bit of experience,'' he said.
''The core group [of the Owls] is really young.'' While he considered Tomane ''unlucky'' to have missed out on Wallabies selection, Uni-Norths coach Joe Hedger believes the winger's return will provide the side with spark.
Hedger praised Tomane's ability to read the play, and make the most of his opportunities with the ball.
''Joe on board adds a huge boost to the team,'' he said.
Uni-Norths takes on fellow struggler Easts Rugby in a bottom-of-the-table clash. Easts coach Jeremy Osbourne said the inclusion of Tomane for the Owls would be a further challenge for his young side, which has struggled with injuries.
''Having Joe there will boost their confidence,'' Osbourne said.
''It's good for them and good for the game, hopefully it will get more people watching.''
While Tomane will provide extra spark for the Owls, Osbourne expected Easts would lift to try and end the season on a high.
Easts started the season strongly before a rising injury toll highlighted the team's lack of depth.
''At the start of the season we were seeing real results, but that has plateaued out,'' Osbourne said.
The injuries have occurred in key areas and the club has struggled to cover the losses.