Tomane to make return through club rugby

Joe Tomane will return to Super Rugby via club rugby, Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham says.

The winger trained on Wednesday but Larkham confirmed that he would be making his comeback from a knee injury via the John I Dent Cup.

Tomane has now missed 10 weeks with a knee injury that was slated to keep him out for eight and could have just one Super Rugby round before finals.

Larkham said a local outing would give Tomane the mental confidence he needed ahead of a Super Rugby comeback.

“Every day he goes out there and trains he looks much better but I think just for his head, just for giving him an opportunity to play a bit of club rugby this week will put him in a better frame of mind for Super Rugby next week,” he said.

“I think for his mental space to get out and play 40-60 minutes of club rugby, whether he can get through there, one, for his fitness and, two, just to prove to himself that his knee is actually right

“We don’t really want to test him in Super Rugby where he’s a little bit unsure of whether he’s going to be right or not – he’d rather do that in club rugby and I think he can prove to himself that he’s right for Super Rugby the following week.”

Larkham said he was confident James Dargaville and Nigel Ah Wong, who have filled the wing spots in the absence of Tomane and Henry Speight (injured and Sevens), would continue to perform.

Tomas Cubelli looks set to start at halfback in the match, with Joe Powell set to play off the bench, Larkham said.

Cubelli came off the pine against the Reds, after only returning from Argentinian Test duties three days before the match, making an impact straight away, scoring a try in their 43-24 win.

“It was very difficult for him (Tomas) but he played a really good game both defensively and in attack and this week we’re going to make a change and put Tomas in the starting team,” he said.

“Joey will do a similar role what he’s been doing for the whole season, coming off the bench and adding a little bit of impact and shoring up our defence.

Former Sevens player Michael Wells is likely to step in for injured backrower Ben Hyne, starting at number eight.

Wells has played every backrow position in his career and Larkham said he would combine well with Jarrad Butler and Scott Fardy.

‘Wellsy’s a natural number eight,” he said.

“He’s come down from Norths in Sydney playing six and eight up there, played for the aussie U20s at six and he’s probably more suited to that role but he’s worked really hard this year at training here and at club level,” he said.

“They’ll (Butler and Wells) probably chop and change in the scrum a little bit depending on whether it’s a centre field scrum or a defensive scrum but on the field in multi-phase attack and defence I think they’ll fill a very similar role.”

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