Giteau to weigh up $10m French offer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Giteau to weigh up $10m French offer

By Darren Walton 30/11/2008 12:36:11 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies superstar Matt Giteau says he will spend the next fortnight deciding whether or not to seek a release from his Australian Rugby Union contract after receiving a staggering $10 million offer to play in France.

Giteau on Saturday broke his months-long silence over his future playing intentions to confirm Bayonne's billionaire owner Alain Afflelou had tabled the offer during a meeting in Paris last week.

An upfront Giteau revealed the megabucks deal would be worth between "9.6 to 9.8" million dollars over four years and said he would be only human to consider it.

"I think whenever anyone's presented with that type of offer, you'd sit down and consider your options," he said after Australia's 21-18 loss to Wales in Cardiff.

"I haven't thought about the deal. Because we've been playing Tests, I haven't really thought about it seriously.

"I think over the next week, two weeks, I'll sit down and seriously think about it."

Giteau is aware that ARU boss John O'Neill has already ruled out granting the 26-year-old a short-term release from his contract - which expires after the 2011 World Cup - to take a sabbatical and play in Europe.

"That makes it tougher," he said.

The ARU said on Saturday flanker Rocky Elsom's release earlier this year on compassionate grounds to join Irish side Leinster did not constitute a sabbatical.

Giteau's dilemma now is whether to turn his back on his country in favour of the cash.

"You can't really put a price on a Wallaby jumper," said the five-eighth maestro.

"I've still got that burning desire to play for the Wallabies, and always will have that desire, I think.

"Whether it's your first game or tonight was my 65th, I think, so I still feel as proud as the first game... in the last."

Giteau is reportedly $1.6 million out of pocket after losing out on third-party sponsorship payments from Firepower, a situation that has also placed his Super 14 contract with the Western Force - where he is committed until the end of next season - in doubt.

He is keen on a return home to Canberra to play for the Brumbies and, with the 2009 season just three months away, Giteau said it was important he settled his playing future as soon as possible.

Amid such uncertainty, Giteau has shown incredible strength of mind to maintain his brilliant form on the Wallabies' spring tour and he was again one of Australia's best in the loss to Wales at Millennium Stadium.

"This season, there have been a lot of things that have gone on - especially at the Force and with Firepower and the like - and football has been a great way for me to just get away from it," he said.

"So any time that I feel like I am getting, I suppose, ambushed a bit with those problems, I just think about the rugby.

"Especially being a caller, the position I am (playing), I need to know the game plan so I am continually studying it and that keeps my mind obviously away from those things."

But while he confessed to meeting the owner of Bayonne, the club which lured former NRL star Craig Gower last year, Giteau denied having an interview last week with French newspaper Midi Olympique.

He said quotes attributed to him in the newspaper claiming he would discuss with the ARU the prospect of being released to play in France were completely manufactured.

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