Wallabies dream fades as L'Estrange's Eagles dare
Former Marist College student Toby L'Estrange gets ready to return to the US following the Christmas break. He is now representing the US in rugby playing with the USA Eagles. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
TOBY L'ESTRANGE is the Canberra junior playing international rugby and eyeing a spot at the World Cup and Olympic Games in consecutive years, but you won't find him at the ACT Brumbies.
Instead you have to go to the other side of the world where L'Estrange is trying to cement his place in the US Eagles to chase his World Cup dream.
Despite growing up in the Brumbies backyard and idolising Stephen Larkham and Joe Roff, L'Estrange's rugby career is taking off in the US.
By his own admission it's the last place he expected to be playing after starring for Marist College as a junior before joining Sydney University.
But the 24-year-old is determined to make his name for the Eagles with the aim of making the squad for the 2015 World Cup and a potential bid for the sevens team at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
''I definitely didn't see it coming, but I guess you've got to play the cards your dealt,'' L'Estrange said.
''An opportunity came up and I was lucky enough to have a US passport and be able to explore options that other people aren't able to. I was happy playing for Sydney Uni, but I was excited for a new start and that's exactly what's happening in the States.''
While L'Estrange's family is based in Canberra and his four brothers were born in the capital, he was born in Berkeley, California while his parents were working in the US.
His hopes of being in World Cup contention kicked off when he made his Test debut against Russia in November last year.
The talented fly half was back in Canberra for Christmas with his family, but has returned to New York. The US Eagles will play Canada in a World Cup qualifier this year and also have a clash with Ireland.
Should a Super Rugby club come knocking, L'Estrange admits it would be tough to turn down a chance to return to Australia. But for now he's focused on becoming an international player for the Eagles.
''As a kid growing up in Canberra, it was always the dream to play for the Brumbies and Wallabies. But now I've played for the US team, I've kind of accepted the Wallabies ship might have sailed.''