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Former NRL stars chase golden prize

Date

Ben Horne

Joe Tomane will battle fellow former NRL star Cooper Vuna tomorrow night, with a spot on the Wallabies' wing at stake.

Joe Tomane will battle fellow former NRL star Cooper Vuna tomorrow night, with a spot on the Wallabies' wing at stake. Photo: Colleen Petch

NRL converts Cooper Vuna and Joe Tomane will face off in Super Rugby action tomorrow night in what shapes as a Wallabies wing-spot duel for Tuesday's Test against Scotland.

Melbourne flyer Vuna and Brumbies revelation Tomane practised together with the Wallabies train-on squad yesterday, but in a mouth-watering match-up, they'll go head-to-head at AAMI Park with a gold jersey potentially on the line.

Although Queenslander Dom Shipperley is also in the frame to partner Digby Ioane on the wing at Hunter Stadium, Vuna and Tomane get one final chance to convince Robbie Deans they're ready to become the latest in a long line of league converts to play out wide for the Wallabies.

Tomane, a former Australian Schools representative, has lost none of his rugby instincts in a stellar debut season for the Brumbies in 2012.

''It's real surreal. It still hasn't really sunk in even though I've done a lot of training with the squad, it still feels like I'm not here,'' said Tomane.

''My thoughts were maybe I might have a crack at the Wallabies in the next three or four years … I didn't expect it to happen so fast, it's just an awesome experience. If I get that opportunity hopefully I'll hold onto it.''

A crowd pleaser in NRL-mad Newcastle during his stint with the Knights, Vuna said he was approaching tomorrow's match as a Test selection trial, and he won't be leaving anything in reserve when he clashes with Tomane.

''It's pretty much a showcase I guess … if we do clash I won't hold back on anything,'' said Vuna, who admits to not knowing all the Wallabies players' names yet.

''It's going to be tough out there, there are players right across the park that are all fighting for a spot in that Scotland game [halfbacks Nick Phipps and Nic White will also match up].

''It's pretty much trying to find my form and back myself into making that squad.''

The pair have only ever played against each other once and that was in an NRL match in 2010 when Tomane's Gold Coast Titans beat Vuna's Knights 38-36 in a thriller fittingly played at Tuesday's Test venue, Hunter Stadium in Newcastle.

On that day both players stepped up to the mark and scored a try.

Andrew Walker, Wendell Sailor, Mat Rogers, Lote Tuqiri and Ryan Cross were all high-profile NRL converts who made a name for themselves in the outside backs for the Wallabies in the 2000s.

And while Vuna and Tomane haven't come across with the same fanfare as their predecessors, they've been heavily influenced by two big names who made the switch a decade ago.

Vuna, 24, says he was instructed as a youngster to model his game on giant winger Sailor, while fellow dual international Rogers has been a mentor for 22-year-old Tomane since they played together at the Titans.

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Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
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Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
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