Giteau hints at staying in Australia, but not where


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Western Force star Matt Giteau has given his strongest indication yet that he may not be playing for the Force next year but played down talk that he would take the enormous offer available to him in France.

“I want to be playing in Australia, but I can’t say where that will be,” he told the Herald Sun from London before flying to the US for Christmas.

Giteau is contracted to play for the Force until the end of the 2009 Super 14 but has been offered almost $10 million in a four year deal from French club Bayonne.

In addition to this he is being chased by the Brumbies who are said to be rallying companies to back them for their bid to get one of their most famous former players back.

The Wallaby number ten said that he had not been in talks with the Force since leaving on the Wallaby tour.

“That’s been a problem,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind talking to them.

“I need to sit down and talk it over with the Force, my manager, my family and girlfriend. I’ve got to sit down and have a lengthy, proper discussion and get a few things clear.

“Australian rugby is where I want to be. Playing for the Wallabies is something special and we’re embarking on something special.”

Over in France, Paris-based agent Pierre Vandome said that Bayonne would be happy for Giteau to still play for the Wallabies, and might even ask the International Rugby Board to help broker a deal.

“If Matt accepts to sign for Bayonne, the club will help him and support him and push the International Rugby Union to have him selected for the Wallabies,” Vandome said.

“It is only fair. If we want to develop the game everywhere, they (the Australian Rugby Union) have to accept someone like Matt playing overseas.

“Bayonne would be more than happy for Matt to play for the Wallabies. They will release him anywhere, anytime.”

The general idea would be to work on a similar deal to the one that All Black number ten Dan Carter has where he will play for Perpignan but will be available to play for the All Blacks.

The stumbling block is that ARU boss John O’Neill says that Giteau would not be released from his contract, which runs until the next World Cup.

“As far as we’re concerned he is not going anywhere.”

The Force are obviously keen to hold on to their star player and are confident that they have a binding contract even though one of the backers has gone belly up.

Giteau did however say that the deciding factor would not be money.

“I need a break from rugby. I need to freshen up and think about things away from rugby,” he said.

“While I’m away I’ll take a good look at where I want to be.”

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