News24

Giteau, Shaw raring to go

2011-11-14 19:44

Toulon - Big spending Top 14 side Toulon's two high-profile close season signings, former Wallaby flyhalf Matt Giteau and veteran England lock Simon Shaw, trained for the first time on Monday.

Giteau, 29 and capped 92 times by Australia, was a shock omission from the World Cup squad and he was much missed as first choice pivot Quade Cooper had a disappointing tournament.

Despite being not required for the World Cup - which saw the Wallabies go out in the semi-finals to bitter rivals and eventual winners the All Blacks - Giteau could not join Toulon until the end of his contract with the Australian Federation.

"I don't know what to expect. But I'm very excited. It's been a long time since I played and I am really hungry to get going," said Giteau, whose great grandfather was French but emigrated to Australia.

"My last match was the friendly against Samoa (the Wallabies lost 23-22 in July).

"I am in good shape and I hope to be able to play against Castres on November 26.

"As regards the World Cup, that is in the past even if I would have loved to have been there," added Giteau, who is on a three year contract and rejoins boyhood friend and former Wallaby Matt Henjak.

Giteau was at a bit of a loss when asked where in France his great grandfather had come from.

"My great grandfather moved to Australia, many many years ago. I don't know exactly where he came from, he arrived in Sydney."

Shaw - who has been joined in France by his wife and four children - ended a 14 year spell with Wasps to join Toulon as an emergency replacement because of a series of injuries to several players.

The 38-year-old Kenya-born second row forward, who escaped relatively unscathed in terms of criticism following England's scandal-tainted and disappointing World Cup, said he had sought out advice from England team-mate and Toulon star Jonny Wilkinson.

"During the World Cup, I talked to Jonny about Toulon. After coming back to England, I've thought about my future, I wanted to experience something different.

"I came here to watch a game and I liked the atsmosphere in and around the stadium, that we don't always have in England.

"I am really happy to play in the south of France, under the sun, in such a passionate atmosphere, and I hope that I will help achieve the aims of the club," said Shaw, capped 71 times since making his debut in 1996.

AFP