Wednesday 19 June 2019

New Leinster star Joe Tomane reveals the unusual approach he made that landed him in Dublin


Joe Tomane called his agent to see if Leinster were interested
Joe Tomane called his agent to see if Leinster were interested
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

For all of the scouting that goes on worldwide nowadays, sometimes a good deal just falls into the laps of clubs, and that was the exactly case with Leinster and Joe Tomane.

From the outside looking in, it may seem like Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster sounded the Australian international out, but it was the player who actually approached the club about a possible move.

Tomane's time in Montpellier was set to be cut short a year early after the Top 14 side ran into problems around the number of foreign players they had on their books.

As a result, Tomane was on the hunt for a new club, but he didn't have to look for too long because as luck would have it, Leinster knew they were going to have to replace the retiring Isa Nacewa.

"I actually approached them," Tomane explained at the launch of Leinster's new kits in Life Style Sports.

"When I found out the news about what was happening me in France, I called my agent and asked: 'If Leinster had any spots available next year, I'd really like to go there'.

"It sort of just grew from there, I wasn't really supposed to be on the market. I had one year left on my contract at Montpellier, but they ran into salary-cap problems and foreigner problems as well. So that's why I had to leave.

"I just shot my shot and hoped for the best. It all seemed to work out, which was awesome."

Tomane ticks a lot of boxes for the reigning Guinness PRO14 and European champions: versatile, quick, only 28, will be around the squad during the crucial international windows, and perhaps most crucially of all, won't be considered an 'antipodean' because he holds a Samoan passport.

His former Brumbies team-mate Scott Fardy also put in a good word for Tomane, who can play across the backline, and before he knew it he was settling in Dublin.

"When I spoke to my agent, I called Scott and told him my situation and said I'd be pretty keen, if there were any spots open for me to come over here," Tomane recalled.

"I think he said he'd have a word with Leo. I sent all sorts of people out there for me to try and make this happen.

"I knew where I wanted to be and I'm just grateful it worked out for me.

"I knew that I wanted to go to a club that had a winning culture and playing Leinster the last two years in the European Champions Cup there was, I guess, an aura about how they went about their business."

Returning to Australia ahead of next year's World Cup was an option but as Tomane sees it, he felt that he had accomplished everything that he wanted to back home.

"I also didn't want to be a roadblock for the younger talent coming through over there. So it was a fall-back plan if things didn't work out for me over this way."

Tomane knows that he has an impossible task in attempting to fill the void left by Nacewa, but he is determined to create his own legacy.

"Speaking to Leo about it, one of the reasons why he wanted me to come here is all the experience I have in the past," he added.

"I guess my goal is to make sure that when those internationals are away, the standard remains the same with the training and games.

"I feel it's a role I'll be taking very seriously, helping the young lads come through the ranks, and develop their game as much as possible."

Irish Independent

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