Melbourne Rebels playmaker Matt To’omua believes the Wallabies’ youth are destined to shine should they receive an opportunity in Sunday’s opening Bledisloe Test against the All Blacks in Wellington.
The Wallabies have named 16 uncapped players in the 2020 Test squad, but it’s yet to be known whether new coach Dave Rennie will select a balanced blend of youth and experience or rely solely on his young talent early in the series.
With the first Test line-up to be announced later this week, To’omua says the confidence of his side’s younger players should not be underestimated.
“One thing the young guys here do have is they’ve got a ton of confidence, a lot of them have come from a winning team, particularly the Brumbies guys,” said To’omua.
“Someone like Noah (Lolesio) is a good example, who has just won a competition and he’s got some good experience under his belt.
“I don’t think anyone will be disrespecting a Bledisloe team and naming a team full of debutants, but we’ve got to develop players and develop a squad for the future as well, so I’m sure it’ll be a balance."
It has been seven years since To’omua made his Wallabies debut during 2013’s opening Bledisloe Test in Sydney. Upon reflection, the thirty-year-old says it was a memorable experience, albeit a stressful one.
“That first Test was quite a stressful week actually, it’s definitely a step up in that sense.”
To’omua will be looking to kick off another Bledisloe series at starting fly-half– a position that’s become hotly contested through the emergence of Noah Lolesio and Will Harrison, while James O'Connor has also put his hand up for the starting role.
“It's pretty open at the moment, which is nice and stressful for guys like myself.”
"I think at this stage of the year, yes it's competitive but we're all kind of waiting to see Dave's first squad and then you probably get a little bit of an idea as it goes on.
“There's four options there and all of them have played really well.”
The Wallabies aren’t the only team to be boasting a new Head Coach this Sunday, with New Zealand being led out by its former assistant, Ian Foster, following the departure of Steve Hansen after last year’s World Cup in Japan.
To’omua admits it’s been hard to analyse the All Blacks, who haven’t played a game in almost a year.
“It’s hard to analyse them because they haven’t played a game, so we take hints from last year.”
“We have watched clips from our two games against them and their last game against England - and they’re teams that did really well against them, so we’ve used that as a guide.
“The North versus South game is probably a nice one to get a little bit of context, but they’re probably in the same boat as well, maybe even more so because we’ve got a completely new coaching staff.
“It’s the old cliché that we’re focusing us on ourselves, but we probably don’t have a choice but to focus on ourselves because there’s not much footage around.”
The Wallabies take on the All Blacks in the 2020 Bledisloe Cup, beginning on Sunday, October 11 at 2 pm (AEDT) in Wellington, New Zealand.