Melbourne Rebels head coach Dave Rennie has revealed that either Matt Toomua or Dane Haylett-Petty could be packing their bags and accompanying Michael Hooper to Japan for a sabbatical.
This comes after a deal was brokered between the Melbourne Rebels and Rugby Australia. A stipulation in said deal was that only one player would be allowed to join Hooper, not both.
Hooper, the incumbent Wallabies captain, elected to take a stint in Japan to compensate the loss of earnings he incurred as a result of the hiatus placed on rugby by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is expected that he will be back in time for Australia’s internationals next year.
Of Toomua and Haylett-Petty, Rebels head coach Dave Wessels said:
"The way it works is that both of them can't go together so if one did decide to go, they'd have to alternate years," Wessels said on Thursday.
"Both of them are pretty big parts of our team and both of them are pretty committed to staying at this stage and we're obviously hopeful it plays out that way.
"But I think dependent where things end up with the pay deal going forward they may have to make have to make other decisions.
"If they did decide to make a change for a few months then we'd understand that.
"It's a hard one for me because I want those players to be part of our group. Dane's our regular captain and when he's not playing Matt is the captain so I want to keep both of those guys."