Rugby-Toomua re-signs with Wallabies through to 2023 World Cup

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Quarter Final - England v Australia - Oita Stadium, Oita, Japan - October 19, 2019 Australia's Matt Toomua in action REUTERS/Peter Cziborra/File Photo

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Wallabies centre Matt Toomua has extended his national contract through to the 2023 World Cup in France in a deal that keeps the 31-year-old at Super Rugby club Melbourne Rebels.

The versatile playmaker will also remain captain of the Melbourne Rebels through the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition after replacing injured regular skipper Dane Haylett-Petty in the domestic season.

"I’m really excited to re-commit to the Melbourne Rebels and Rugby Australia," Toomua said in a media release.

"We are building something special at the Rebels and it is great to be a part of it alongside the rest of the team."

The Rebels missed the Super Rugby AU playoffs but Toomua had a strong campaign, finishing equal first with Wallabies team mate and Queensland Reds flyhalf James O'Connor for points scored (102) at the end of the regular season.

Toomua was restricted to two tests last year due to a groin injury and will hope to play a bigger part in Dave Rennie's plans for the Wallabies' three-test series against France in July.

"His leadership and experience has been invaluable for the Wallabies and the Rebels," said Rugby Australia Director of Rugby Scott Johnson.

"Matt has the ability to control the tempo of the game whilst creating opportunities to attack which is a big reason why he’s found success recently."

Toomua will lead the Rebels into their Trans-Tasman opener against New Zealand's Auckland Blues in Melbourne on Saturday.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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