Tomane could trouble Lions

The Lions have been given an early heads up on an Australian dangerman after Joe Tomane was named his country's Super Rugby Rookie of the Year. [more]

Tomane could trouble Lions

The Lions have been given an early heads up on an Australian dangerman after Joe Tomane was named his country’s Super Rugby Rookie of the Year.

Tomane scooped the award at a function in Sydney as he celebrated a hugely impressive year with the Brumbies.

Will Genia may have won the competition’s top award for the second season running but his talents have been known for some time.

Tomane, on the other hand, is hardly a household name outside of Australia yet he could play a major role when the Lions head Down Under in 2013.

The 22-year-old rugby league convert only switched to the 15-man version of the sport 13 months ago but has already exceeded expectations while playing on the wing for Jake White’s men.

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“To be named Rookie of the Year is something I’m very proud of,” said Tomane.

“I felt like I was adapting to the game better after each appearance and the transition from league has probably been smoother than I thought it was going to be.

“Looking at the Brumbies, we’ve had some outstanding rookies over the last few years, with guys like Pat (McCabe), Michael Hooper and Robbie (Coleman) all sustaining the strong form they produced in their debut seasons.

“I suppose that’s where I want to go from here, to use what I’ve learned at the Brumbies this year as a platform to improve over the next couple of seasons.”

Tomane previously played in the NRL with Melbourne Storm and the Gold Coast Titans, making 32 appearances for those sides between 2008 and 2011.

The New Zealand-born speedster was a regular for the Brumbies in his debut campaign in union, featuring 13 times in the Super 15 and putting himself into the Wallaby reckoning with a series of fine displays.

Australia head coach Robbie Deans called him up to his training squad ahead of the June Tests and Tomane made his debut in the shock defeat to Scotland in Newcastle, New South Wales.

Although the Wallabies were on the wrong end of the 9-6 scoreline, Tomane did more than enough to justify his selection, making a try-saving tackle despite seeing very little of the ball in attack.

It initially looked as though Tomane would retain his international place for the start of the three-Test series with Wales but he suffered an ankle injury in training prior to the opening rubber in Brisbane.

That knock ruled him out of the rest of the summer series and ensured he was unable to feature for his franchise when Super Rugby season got back underway late last month.

Tomane was absent for the completion of the tournament and wasn’t fit enough to be considered for the start of Australia’s inaugural Rugby Championship campaign which begins against the All Blacks on August 18.

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