Matt Giteau hailed 'a great player'
April 18, 2013
Matt Giteau has impressed in his stint in southern France © Getty Images
Matt Giteau is in career-best form in France, hailed by Toulon coach Bernard Laporte as "a great rugby player, a great attacking player, very explosive with good vision of the game" who has been instrumental in the club's push for a Top 14-Heineken Cup double.
Giteau, 32, has been displaying the spark in the centres outside Jonny Wilkinson that many pundits believe Australian rugby and the Wallabies are lacking ahead of the British & Irish Lions series, and he says he would love to play again for his country. But he recognises that he will almost certainly never again grace the Test arena. "You ask players who've retired for 10 years and I'm sure they'd still love to play for Australia again, so I'm not sure that's realistic," he said in an interview with Total Rugby.
The former Brumbies and Australia star played the last of his 92 Tests for the Wallabies in their ignominious defeat by Samoa at Parramatta Stadium in July 2011, a loss for which he carried much of the blame.
"At the Wallabies at the time, I was a playmaker role," Giteau said. "When a team does well you get a lot of credit for it ... if you're going to accept all that credit you've got to accept the criticism. For me, the criticism probably can quite thick at the back end in Australia, but that's the way it is."
Giteau and Robbie Deans subsequently had a well-documented falling out, after the coach cut the player from his squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but the playmaker has no regrets about his provocative comments about Deans on social media, including a post, hastily deleted, calling for Ewen McKenzie to take over as coach.
"I was true to myself for the whole of my career," Giteau told Total Rugby. "If there was something that needed to be said for the betterment of the group, I was willing to do that. It may have been to my detriment at the back end of my career ... but I don't regret doing it."
© ESPN Australia / New Zealand
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton