$10m sabbatical unlikely for Giteau - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

$10m sabbatical unlikely for Giteau

By David Beniuk 29/11/2008 05:07:43 PM Comments (0)

Any request from Wallabies star Matt Giteau for a French "sabbatical" is likely to be refused, the Australian Rugby Union says.

Giteau has reportedly been offered a staggering $10 million for four years by Bayonne, the French rugby club of former NRL star Craig Gower.

The Wallabies five-eighth has also been quoted in the French media as saying he would be interested in pursuing a temporary stint in France similar to All Blacks superstar Dan Carter's with Perpignan.

"Our position is we don't entertain sabbaticals," an ARU spokesman told AAP on Saturday.

Giteau, 26, is contracted to the ARU until the end of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

But his deal with Super 14 side the Western Force expires at the end of next year and he is believed to want out of Perth over non-payments from a third party to his contract, fuel additive company Firepower.

He had previously been linked to a return to the Brumbies.

The closest the ARU has come to granting a Carter-like sabbatical was the early release of Wallabies flanker Rocky Elsom from his contract to link with Irish provincial side Leinster.

But Elsom's contract was due to expire just three months after his release and the ARU is adamant that has not set any precedent.

"(Elsom) was given compassionate leave," the spokesman said.

"We hope he will be back next year.

"He was approaching the end of his contract, he was not in the midst of his contract, he was not given a sabbatical."

Granting Australian players permission for stints in Europe would weaken the Super 14 tournament because of the overlap of the northern and southern hemisphere seasons.

Australians who do not play in the Super 14 are also ineligible for national selection.

The ARU would be unable to compete with an offer in the vicinity of Bayonne's $2.5 million per season for any player but officials are confident there will be no mass exodus.

"Obviously the figures mentioned are extremely high but we have no indication as to whether that is an accurate portrayal of what a French club is putting on the table," the spokesman said.

"I think it's evident that our players to date have been satisfied with their levels of remuneration because in the professional era we have not lost high profile players to either rugby league or European rugby while they're at the height of their careers."

The Western Force declined to comment on the report.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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