Rugby

Giteau sticks with Force

2008-12-27 11:26
Playing for the Force (Gallo Images)
Canberra - The Brumbies have confirmed they will go into the 2009 season without Wallabies flyhalf Matt Giteau.

The drawn-out negotiations between Giteau's management and the Western Force have come to an end after Giteau agreed this week to return to the Perth club for the final year of his contract.

The Force are predicted to make an announcement to that effect in the coming days before Giteau returns to training in Perth in the second week of January.

Giteau has been angered by the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in sponsorship income after the financial collapse of a third-party sponsor fuel technology company Firepower.

Despite exploring the possibility of coming home to Canberra next month, he won't wear a Brumbies jumper again until at least 2010.

"There's been a lot of paper talk about where Matt is going to play in 2009, but as far as we are concerned we are going into the upcoming season with the players we have," Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said.

"We're happy with the squad we have and excited about the season to come. That squad will return to training under (coach) Andy Friend after the Christmas break."

While Giteau will remain a key player for the Force next season, there is a strong possibility he will do so with his future committed to the Brumbies.

His management has made approaches to Canberra businesses about securing crucial third-party sponsorship in the capital for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

If sponsorship deals can be struck early in the new year and Giteau can agree to terms with the Brumbies on a playing contract, he could commit to the Brumbies well before the first round of the Super 14.

That would put Giteau and the Force in an awkward position and limit the club's ability to capitalise on his high profile.

It would also ensure an enthralling contest at Canberra Stadium on February 28, when the Force will play the Brumbies.

Even without Giteau, the Brumbies believe they are well served in the crucial flyhalf position next year. Incumbent No.10 Christian Lealiifano will hope for another strong year after stepping into Stephen Larkham's enormous void, while Matt Toomua will build on the four caps he earned off the bench this year.

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