Brumbies give Giteau a French blessing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Brumbies give Giteau a French blessing

Jim Morton and Ben Horne 20/01/2011 05:52:19 PM Comments (0)

The Brumbies are ready to wave au revoir to Wallabies star Matt Giteau and they couldn't be happier.

Normally football clubs despise losing senior players before the season starts but the ACT-based outfit are grateful Giteau's post-World Cup future will be determined before Super Rugby kicks off.

The 91-Test playmaker is set to sign a lucrative French contract in the coming days, with cashed-up Toulon and Bayonne the two front-runners for his services.

Giteau, Australia's highest-paid player over the past five years, lost his Wallabies No.12 jersey to Berrick Barnes for the last Test of 2010 but that doesn't appear to have impacted on his decision.

Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan indicated Giteau had made it known before the end of last year's Super 14 he was likely to head overseas following the 2011 World Cup.

Knowing the dynamic inside back's desire and the huge interest from at least four French clubs, Fagan said there were no strong attempts to keep him in Australia.

Instead the Brumbies shored up their 10-12 stocks by keeping Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano, both targeted by the Melbourne Rebels, and recruiting Queanbeyan young gun Robbie Coleman.

"For me it's a non-issue but as much as we'd love him to stay in Australia, we've known that it was more than likely to happen," he told AAP.

"None of this comes as a surprise and that's why we've recruited the way we have.

"I think (Giteau signing) will happen sooner rather than later and that's a good thing from our perspective."

Giteau, who admitted complacency was to blame for his drop in form last year, also said he was driven to quickly tie up his next contract.

"Not for my own peace of mind, but for the Brumbies so it's not a distraction and we can just concentrate on this 2011 season," he told Canberra Times.

Giteau looks set to captain the Brumbies in their pre-season trials and possibly their Super rugby opener against the Chiefs with Stephen Hoiles and Rocky Elsom both injured.

Coach Andy Friend is yet to decide whether to play him at five-eighth or inside centre but Fagan is certain Giteau will return to his dynamic best after coming back to training with a "point to prove and spring in the step".

While Giteau was displaced by Barnes for the record 59-16 rout of France in Paris, Wallabies halfback Luke Burgess said the 28-year-old would be a big loss to Australian rugby.

"He's been a great player and he's obviously really experienced ... so all that experience will be lost," the NSW Waratahs No.9 said.

With the bulk of Test players to come off contract after this year's World Cup in New Zealand, Burgess remains worried about the distractions brought about by contract speculation by the media this season.

"It's not something to be discussed at this present time, individual's decisions are their own and I think it's rude, it's not appropriate to be discussing it," he said.

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