x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

ARU boss rules out Giteau sabbatical

The Australian rugby boss John O'Neill has ruled out the possibility of Wallaby fly-half Matt Giteau spending the off-season playing club rugby in France.

The Australia fly-half Matt Giteau practices his kicking before the game against Wales at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium last weekend.
The Australia fly-half Matt Giteau practices his kicking before the game against Wales at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium last weekend.

SYDNEY // The Australian rugby boss John O'Neill has ruled out the possibility of Wallaby fly-half Matt Giteau spending the off-season playing club rugby in France. Giteau told reporters in Britain after Australia's loss to Wales at the weekend he had been offered a deal to join Bayonne, even though the French club has publicly denied the claims. However, O'Neill said Giteau would not be allowed to play in France regardless of whether he wanted to or not because he had a contract with Australia's Western Force Super 14 franchise.

"We don't have a policy or practice of granting sabbaticals, so it's pretty straight up," O'Neill told The Australian newspaper. "If he wants to play in France, he can do so in 2011." Giteau, who has played 65 Tests for Australia and made no secret of his desire to play at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, said he wanted to continue playing for the Wallabies but was still weighing up all his choices.

"I think whenever anyone's presented with that type of offer, you'd sit down and consider your options," he said. "But I'm contracted until 2011, so at the moment you can't really put a price on a Wallaby jumper. "I've still got that burning desire to play for the Wallabies, and always will have that desire, I think." *Reuters