Australian playmaker Matt To’omua has sledged England’s players for their poor snooker skills and a reluctance to buy a round of drinks before this weekend’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash.
To’omua spent three years with the Leicester Tigers between 2016–2019 and on Thursday gleefully revealed a few trade secrets about several of the players the Wallabies will lock horns with in Oita on Saturday.
“I’ve been very fortunate to play with a lot of them there,” said the veteran fly-half.
“I know all of their weaknesses luckily – I can list them now for you if you want,” added To’omua with a smile, before going on to savage former Tigers team mates Manu Tuilagi, George Ford, Ben Youngs, Jonny May and Dan Cole.
“Manu is a terrible snooker player, George Ford never pays for a beer, Ben Youngs isn’t even the best rugby player in his family.
“The chicken, Jonny May – very weird … and Dan Cole doesn’t have a personality, so I’ve just been telling everyone about that.”
On a more serious note, To’omua admitted that England had “no glaring weaknesses”, picking inside centre Tuilagi as possibly England’s biggest threat.
“Obviously I had a very good relationship with a lot of the fellas there and one thing I do know is they’re all quality players,” he said.
“We were fortunate in the last couple of years, when Manu came back from injury, just watching him grow in stature. He probably grows the bigger the game as well – he probably plays his best rugby in Tests, which is the sign of a true champion.”
Unable to resist one last dig at the English, To’omua concluded: “There’s no glaring weakness – besides the fact George never pays for a beer.”
England go into the blockbuster quarter-final as favourites after compiling a six-game winning streak against their bitter rivals.
But Australia coach Michael Cheika appeared relaxed ahead of what could be his final Test match in charge.
“He just asked me how much we expect to win by,” he joked after a question from a Japanese reporter.
“I probably shouldn’t have told you guys – actually that would have been better,” going on to predict the outcome would be decided by “who wants to attack more.”
A defiant Cheika warned: “The fear inside us is dead. We’re not afraid to go there and get it.”
The Aussie coach, who it has been suggested could start an argument in an empty room, also indulged in a little gentle ribbing of his old rival, the England coach Eddie Jones.
“He’s been there for a bit now hasn’t he,” Cheika said of his countryman.
“He’s done a good job for sure,” he added, before pausing.
“It always hurts me when there’s an Aussie over there, you know what I mean? (Cricket’s) Trevor Bayliss and Eddie and, I don’t know, (rugby league’s) Wayne Bennett – you want them at home but it is what it is.”