Rugby

Giteau back for key Saracens game

2017-01-19 17:50
Matt Giteau (Gallo Images)

Toulon - Australian playmaker Matt Giteau is back in the nick of time to boost Toulon in their quest to make the European Champions Cup quarter-finals at Saracens on Saturday.

The French club trail reigning champions Saracens in Pool 3 with a visit to the already-qualified English giants their penultimate round-robin outing.

Giteau, a key man in Toulon's hat-trick of titles from 2013-15, suffered a broken ankle and an additional leg fracture playing for the Wallabies against New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.

After five months on the sidelines, the Australian made a significant comeback in a bonus-point 27-12 triumph over Sale, meaning it all comes down to Saturday's Allianz Park showdown.

"We saw during the short time that he came back what he contributed, he hasn't played for a long time but he's in form," said Toulon's French scrumhalf Sebastien Tillous-Borde.

"Matt is back, it's good for the whole team," said Toulon's South African wing Bryan Habana.

"He's a world class player."

"Finally Game Day!! 4-5 months is hard for a player but very happy to be with my brothers today," Giteau had tweeted before the Sale game.

Toulon will also be boosted by the return of stalwarts Fijian Josua Tuisova and South African Juan Smith, who both also got a run out against Sale.

"The physios did what was necessary, the medical staff too, they will certainly be used for longer this week," said forwards coach Marc Dal Maso.

But Giteau - the player dubbed 'the boss' by club president Mourad Boudjellal - is ready to step back into his pivotal role.

His return comes as a welcome relief for the club with Francois Trinh-Duc out with an arm injury.

The reassuring presence of the 103-times capped Australian will be a bonus.

"We have our style of play, with Matt we know each other, we've played for so long together, it's good for the confidence," said Tillous-Borde.

"(Giteau) creates a sense of danger around him, he also knows all the players very well and he'll bring a little bit of craziness".

"Everyone could see that they made the difference against Sale," Tillous-Borde said of Giteau, Tuisova, and Smith.

"But as a group we can't count on a single player, it's not because Matt Giteau is returning that we're going to win. But it's a good start," added Habana.

Read more on:    toulon  |  matt giteau  |  rugby
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