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Brumbies flyhalves to recover side by side


Lee Gaskin

Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua after his knee injury.

Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua after his knee injury. Photo: Stuart Walmsley

They made their Super Rugby debuts for the ACT Brumbies only weeks apart and have forged a strong bond in the past five seasons.

Now, Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano will work side by side in their quest to recover from their season-ending injuries next year.

Lealiifano had surgery at Calvary John James Hospital in Deakin last night after he dislocated and fractured his right ankle in the final minutes of Saturday night's 23-6 win against the NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium.

The 24-year-old will be sidelined for six months, ruling him out of the rest of the Super Rugby season and ending any chance of a Wallabies call-up this year. Toomua, 22, endured similar heartache when he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in the round six loss to the Durban Sharks.

Toomua and Lealiifano - who both recently inked new two-year deals tying them to the Brumbies until 2014 - have walked a similar path since the pair made their debuts in 2008.

Lealiifano got the nod in the season-opener against the Canterbury Crusaders in a hostile Christchurch that year, with Toomua getting the call-up a month later for the round five encounter against the Wellington Hurricanes in Canberra.

''We've been through a lot together, Christian and I, and this is something else,'' Toomua said yesterday.

''We're very, very close. He's got a tough period to get through but I think his return will be similar to mine.

''Personally he was there for me when I got hurt, but for the team we didn't really lose anything in terms of experience.''

Lealiifano's form at flyhalf was so strong he was in the running to be drafted into the Wallabies squad for the mid-season Tests and the Rugby Championship against New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.

The Australian conference leaders will be without their first and second-choice flyhalves for the final six games of the campaign, with Robbie Coleman and Zack Holmes the leading contenders to fill the No.10 jersey.

Brumbies coach Jake White has another 10 days to decide who gets the nod before his side returns from the bye to face the Wellington Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium on May 18.

Coleman has had limited opportunities in his three games back from a groin injury, while Holmes has made just two Super Rugby appearances, both off the bench this season.

The ace the Brumbies have up their sleeve is assistant coach Stephen Larkham.

Toomua said the Wallabies great had been a tremendous help to his own game and expected him to have a similar impact for whoever filled the flyhalf role.

''Bernie and I have worked multiple times a day, he's been massive,'' Toomua said.

''Robbie's proven in the last year or two that he's a quality player and Zack played in the trials.

''In terms of caps and experience it's yet to be known, but Jake has picked them because they're good players.''

Toomua was adamant the Brumbies had the depth and desire to overcome their setbacks and continue to be a competition force.

''As it is now, you don't want to be planning for next year,'' he said.

''You want the guys looking at each and every game and then it'll come naturally.

''We've done really well so far and hopefully we can keep that going.''

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
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