Canberra - A rejuvenated Matt Giteau is hoping his longest rugby hiatus in a
decade helps him have an instant impact when he joins French club Toulon
Despite 92 Tests to his name, Giteau admitted he was ''nervous'' before making his debut in the French competition.
The departing Brumbies flyhalf leaves Canberra on Tuesday to start his 18-month stint with Toulon, more than two months after
being left out of the Wallabies' Rugby World Cup squad.
And while the disappointment lingers after missing the
tournament and the Wallabies' third-place finish, Giteau wants to
benefit from his unplanned, extended break.
''At the time [of World Cup selection] of course you feel
like you want to keep playing and you want to be a part of the World
Cup, but that's all over,'' Giteau said. ''It's the biggest break I've
had in 10 years, and probably one I needed in hindsight, I feel so
refreshed, ready to play.
''[France] is the next challenge for me and it's
something totally different … I'm excited and nervous for a new culture,
I don't know what to fully expect.''
Giteau has been training alone with former Brumbies
strength and conditioning coach Marcus Kain since Robbie Deans axed him
from the Tri-Nations Test side.
It was clear the veteran was on the outer fringes with
Deans and the Wallabies coach then ended Giteau's international career
by leaving him out of the 30-man World Cup squad.
The 29-year-old hasn't played since suiting up for Randwick in the Sydney club competition in August.
Giteau said he was ''content'' with his Australian
career, but did not want to close the door on a return to Super Rugby or
''Sometimes things are out of your hands, but you never
say never. My dad feels like he could still play for the Wallabies so
you always feel like you're a chance and you never close the door on
anything,'' he said. ''For me, I feel content with what I was able to
achieve and now I'm looking forward to another challenge.''
Giteau will move to France with wife Bianca and the pair are expecting their first child in February.
The thought of becoming a father and joining Toulon's star-studded line-up has Giteau itching to get back on the field.
With English flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson filling Toulon's
No 10 jersey, Giteau expects to start from the bench and move to
Moving to France also gives Giteau the chance to link with fellow Queanbeyan product and Wallabies discard Matt Henjak.
''For the past 10 years I've only had a month off at the
end of every year, but now I've got nothing wrong with me and my body
feels great,'' Giteau said.
''Now it's about getting conditioned to taking those hits again.
''I've got nothing but fond memories of my time with the Brumbies and with the Wallabies, it is what it is.
''There are times when they feel you're not the best fit
for the team and good luck to the guys stepping in and they'll play good
''Hopefully, I can play some of my best footy in France
and I feel I've done everything right with training to stay in the best