Do Not Sell My Personal Information
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Wednesday Apr 8, 2015

Could Matt Giteau hold the key to Australian World Cup success?

Could Matt Giteau hold the key to Australian World Cup success?
13
Comments

Sometimes it takes a sea change to reinvigorate yourself. Toulon playmaker Matt Giteau knows this more than most. Giteau was in Australia recently following injury, but has since returned to France, playing for Toulon in their Champions Cup Quarter Final against Wasps.

The reigning Top 14 player of the season made his international debut for the Wallabies at the age of 20, amassing 92 tests and 104 Super Rugby games before leaving the country in bitter circumstances in 2011.

Bagged by the media, his coach and fans the curtain fell down on his glittering international career with the Wallabies infamous 32-23 loss to Samoa that year.

‘Exiled’ to the Top 14, Giteau signed with Toulon, trading the cold of Canberra for the Mediterranean coast of Southern France.

Four years later Giteau is, considered by some, in the form of his career steering Toulon to back-to-back European championship titles and securing the Top 14-Europe double last year.

Former Toulon teammate and 2003 world cup final rival Jonny Wilkinson has gone on record saying that he can’t fathom how Australian Rugby let the utility back go.

“He’s exceptional, I don’t quite know how a team ever let him go in Australia to come over here,” Wilkinson commented late last year.

David Campese also recently included Giteau in the Australian team he would take to the 2015 World Cup, and former Wallaby coach John Connolly went further, stating Giteau was the ideal captain.

However, despite his stunning form Australia’s current eligibility laws rule out any future caps for the 32 year old, automatically disqualifying overseas players.

Giteau has largely credited his turnaround to the birth of his sons, Levi and Kai, and the increased work-life balance playing in France has brought his family.

Australian fans will want to remember their names, as Levi and Kai certainly have sporting pedigree. Their mother Bianca Franklin is a professional netballer and sister to Australian Football star Buddy, while Matt’s father, Ron, also captained the Canberra Raiders in the NRL.

Giteau was back in Canberra recovering from groin surgery recently so caught up with the guys from Rugby HQ about his rollercoaster career.

Would you pick him in the Wallabies squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup?

13 Comments

  • drg
    11:00 PM 10/04/2015

    Right, I see what you mean, they do tend to play a very B team leading up to the big tournaments, so I'm sure as you say, it'll be very 'convenient'. Like you said, it is quite frightening how backwards this apparent forward step is.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    10:03 PM 10/04/2015

    Sorry, the "leading up to the world cup" criterion is a bit of a red herring in what I wrote. All I was saying is that timing-wise, the politicians have chosen a window where SARU would probably find this target most easy to meet. From what I understood, the requirement is 7 black players in every 23-man match-day squad. The horrific aspect is how "black" is being defined. Literally, a guy like Elton Jantjies who probably is going to get called up at some point, might need a melanin/dna test to see where he fits in. It's appalling, it's a throwback to apartheid where things like the infamous "pencil test" were invented. I hope someone sees some sense.

    Reply
  • drg
    4:06 PM 10/04/2015

    My goodness, I didn't read it carefully enough to spot the info you've highlighted... As you said, what a BS call.. leading up to the world cup... You highlighted the mixed race not being counted, thus increasing the clear definitions between each races - You can't just be a group of rugby players, you have to be sectioned into your groups... I don't know the numbers we have of black/white/pacific islanders/mixed race/asian RD fans (sorry if I missed your race) - frankly I don't care what race people are, as far as I can tell we're all fans of the same sport and even though our opinions can vary, it's nice to know about the 'community'... Also it says "In every team" - now to me, a team is the 21 (?) guys turning up before the game, is that the same definition? Or is it indeed the squad? So throw that in with the no mixed race comment and I can see it now '7 token black guys' sitting at the back of the classroom wondering what they're doing there, why they're wearing a green jumper with a springbok on it and questioning the point of throwing an egg shaped lump to each other, never going to see time actually playing the game, but it's ok, they're 'black black' and they've been included.

    Reply
  • drg
    3:58 PM 10/04/2015

    Totally agree, I mean 'Beast', JP Pieterson, Habana (more?) were not picked due to their colour, they were picked due to their skills (I believe)... So credit was given where credit is due. I totally agree with your comment about players picked because of their colour.. I mean who really wants to be given the sympathy card. You're picked because we're up to 6 skillful black players, but we need one more, you're not really good enough, but you're black. Interestingly though, they didn't say how many whites in the team? I mean 7 non whites, well what if you pick 8 non whites, is that deemed wrong? Like you said, hearts are in the right places, but it's certainly not the best move.

    Reply
  • 1:17 AM 10/04/2015

    That's the cutest thing I've seen in awhile besides my baby daughter. These rules are dumb. Should all Canadians play hockey in Canada? Germans play basketball in Germany? Allow a free market system,select the best available but let the boys make what they can

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    8:57 PM 09/04/2015

    I'm not against quote systems per se (long story, would be a boring diversion here), but this latest announcement had one aspect that deeply disappointed me. One thing to read carefully about it however is that it is 7 non-whites in every squad in the lead up to the world cup. We all know that most of this year, SA will be playing weakened teams ahead of the world cup, managing player workloads etc, so this is in a way a pretty soft SARU request, and probably would be met even without an official requirement. The thing that is not good however is the sense that mixed race people don't count toward the quota. I'm sorry, but apartheid, the legacy of which is being countered here, was equally discriminatory against all non-whites. Whether you are 1/2, 1/4 or 95% black is irrelevant. And who the heck decides if someone is sufficiently black to count toward the quota? I swear the logical endpoint of this system is apartheid era bogus-science tests to determine if say, Brian Habana, is non-white enough (apparently he isn't) to be quota-eligible. This is a very bad road to head down. So I'm watching this space pretty closely though to see how it plays out. I actually believe overall, SARU has done ok in managing this political process, but if they head into the "are-you-black-enough?" business, that will lead to a fiasco.

    Reply
  • i_bleed_green_and_gold
    6:57 PM 09/04/2015

    I do believe the intent is not malicious and to grow the sport to include all South Africans. But a quota system is ridiculous. There may be biases on the part of the coaches if two players are equally qualified for a position then it comes down to preference then a reasonable tiebreaker should be made. A coach may know how to relate/motivate better one than the other due to similar upbringing. Players do not feel valued if they are in the team because of their color (even if they are good enough) and other players who are excluded because of theirs seek other opportunities.(It is just not conducive to a positive one minded team mentality) .. what generally happens is that many of the best players who do not make the cut will leave for better opportunities. This diminishes the quality of the domestic competitions which is contradictory to the primary objective of growing the game in the country. That is one of the reasons many SA born players have joined the french national team.

    Reply
  • drg
    6:27 PM 09/04/2015

    Sorry, I will add that although I stand by my previous comments, simply saying "we will always have 7 non whites in every team" is bloody ridiculous... Imagine the look on 'Beasts' face when they say, well we have 6 players selected, now it would appear the only non injured black guy is a 5'8" centre who weighs 65kg's, sorry JDV looks like you're out... "not a quota system" - my ARSE!

    Reply
  • drg
    6:23 PM 09/04/2015

    As you said, it's a different matter (although I'd say only slightly).. The thing is though, I think that perhaps the politics that are ruining the game on one hand, are also saving it on the other... Maybe they're holding the game back from evolving, but if the evolution process ends up with it being anyway like football/soccer, then I'm sort of all for it...

    Reply
  • drg
    6:18 PM 09/04/2015

    I'm with Dave on this one... Toulon are already gobbling up more than their fair share. Interesting part of not going down that route is that you get players that are used to playing together: 9,10 partnerships, 12,13 partnerships etc...

    Reply
  • 4lc4tr4z
    3:31 PM 09/04/2015

    That happened last year after a game, Levi Giteau drove the whole stand by himself... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAij7l4I6FY The video is short but it lasted something 5 or 10 minutes. Levi Giteau and Kai are Toulonnais. They should already sign them an option.

    Reply
  • i_bleed_green_and_gold
    8:18 PM 08/04/2015

    "-if SA wins"....correction: WHEN they win.. jk I think politics is killing the game, see the link below. (if RD allows it) http://www.superxv.com/45593/2/seven-non-whites-in-every-bok-team-from-now-on#.VSVzP_nF_00 That is an entirely different matter but merit based selection is not going to happen... same with Armitage and England. (politics pull the purse strings). NZ have something special since they appear to value playing for country above any payday. I mean, McCaw, Carter and co could command huge salaries and play 2-3 more years very easily in France or Japan. The work loads are not justified on today's professional athletes. It only makes sense for players to go for more money and less demanding leagues given that there is no guarantee on how long they will be able to play. Essentially the national teams cannot compete with the wealthier European/ Japanese clubs. As for Giteau: A class player, skillful, deceptive and a great distributor of the ball; a much better choice than Beale.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    6:01 PM 08/04/2015

    I'd be shocked if the ARU relaxed their overseas policy for this world cup. I rate Giteau very highly too, but he covers positions where Australia have some depth already, so the rugby need is not quite as pressing as it could be in other positions. But more than that, if they do relax the policy now, you can only imagine that the floodgates will open with players signing to play in Europe. Genia is already on his way, they aren't happy about that downunder, they aren't going to offer extra incentives to others. That all said, I wonder if Aus and NZ will decide at some point to take the path that SA now takes - where basically it expects players to establish themselves domestically to gain Bok selection, but after that will select purely on merit. There's even a growing belief that playing in certain leagues - eg Japan - could help prolong careers. Certainly think that if SA wins the next world cup, such a policy switch becomes quite likely.

    Reply


Great Tries

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

View All

See It To Believe It

View All

Funnies

View All

Amateur

View All

Player Features

View All
Could Matt Giteau hold the key to Australian World Cup success? | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos