But recalled utility and long-gone Dingo haven’t made up
MATT Giteau has revealed that he and Robbie Deans have not spoken since the former Wallabies coach axed the playmaker from the team before the 2011 World Cup, and Giteau is now glad to be under a coach who believes in him.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika brought Giteau back from French club rugby and in three Tests since reigniting his international career, Giteau has shown he could be a key player in the nation’s World Cup campaign.
Asked if he and Deans have spoken since his dismissal in 2011, Giteau replied: “No, no, no, we haven’t been trading Christmas cards or anything.”
But he has moved on from the deep bitterness that engulfed him in the initial aftermath of his axing.
“At the time I was moving over to France, I’ve said that I was bitter at the time, but I had no right to be because I’d been given so many opportunities to play for my country,” Giteau said.
“It’s a totally different flipside. I had a coach that didn’t see my benefit – which is fine, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that – but then I’ve got another coach that’s brought me all the way from France.
“So to be unfortunate in one circumstance, but incredibly fortunate in another, I can’t really complain.
“It’s a big thing, the World Cup is a huge stage, and I’m sure once we get to England it’s really going to hit some of these guys who haven’t experienced it before.
“For me, I can’t wait to get in there.”
Giteau’s revelation comes a day after Quade Cooper told The Sunday Mail that he did not feel he had Deans’ support during the 2011 World Cup, when ironically he was preferred to Giteau as playmaker.
“That World Cup I was under immense pressure from the day that we left the shores to the day that we came back,’’ he said. ‘‘I felt that, at that time, I rode that out by myself.
“Now I have a coach who believes in me, my teammates, we all believe in each other, and so I feel a lot more confident, I know what I am up againstg st now. now.”
Giteau, 32, was a shock omission from Deans’ 2011 squad, and left Australian rugby for France, where he excelled at Toulon, helping to deliver the club domestic and European silverware.
When Cheika took over as Wallabies coach in October, and then presided over a Spring Tour that included three successive Test defeats, he realised he would need old, wise heads to have any chance of winning the World Cup.
He and others at the Australian Rugby Union drafted unprecedented laws, allowing the national coach to select players based overseas if they had played 60 or more Tests.
Giteau, at the time with 92 Tests to his name and carrying the award as European rugby’s best player, was the obvious candidate for a recall and thus the ARU’s manoeuvre was dubbed “the Giteau law”.
“I’m not emotional as far as crying, but you get the nerves and butterflies, that really proud feeling to represent your country again,” he said.
Deans, the longest-serving Wallabies coach in history, was sacked with a 59 per cent winning record in 2013 after hosts Australia lost the British and Irish Lions series 2-1.
He has since moved to Japan where he coaches Panasonic Wild Knights as well as stints coaching Barbarians teams.