Rugby Union
Aussie veteran Matt Giteau facing the axe
Comment on Twitter page suggests that Matt Giteau will be left out of Robbie Deans' Australian Rugby World Cup squad.
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2011 10:55
Aussie coach Robbie Deans has decided on the squad he will take with him to Rugby World Cup [GALLO/GETTY] 

Wallabies veteran Matt Giteau has given every indication he will not be part of Australia's Rugby World Cup campaign, using a social networking forum to suggest he won't be included in the squad.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans arrived back in Australia on Wednesday after the weekend's 14-9 win over the Springboks in South Africa, saying his 30-man World Cup squad is settled pending fitness tests on injured players.

Deans was to head directly to the team's training camp to assess injured hopefuls and was due to announce the Wallabies squad on Thursday.

"We've had all those internal selection discussions and we're clear in our mind," Deans said.

Shortly after Deans' return, 92-test veteran Giteau posted what appeared to be confirmation of his omission on his Twitter page, saying "Thank u ballboys, thank u linesman! That's it."

"We've had all those internal selection discussions and we're clear in our mind"

Australia coach Robbie Deans

Giteau, who has played as a flyhalf, scrumhalf or center for Australia, was a surprise omission from the Wallabies Tri-Nations squads so far this year.

He has already signed to play for French club Toulon next year, meaning his match at flyhalf in Australia's embarrassing loss to Samoa at Sydney last month is likely to have been his last test.

The 28-year-old Giteau's standing as Australia's premier playmaker has been usurped by Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper, while Berrick Barnes looks set to be picked as backup for Nos. 10 and 12 provided he satisfies selectors he has overcome the problems associated with concussion that forced him into a mid-season break this year.

Up-and-coming scrumhalf Nick Phipps seems set to be favored as third specialist No.9 behind Will Genia and Luke Burgess.

No surprises

Deans said he and his fellow selectors did not expect any surprises from Wednesday's fitness tests and had already resolved all the places in the World Cup squad.

Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, prop James Slipper, backrower Wycliff Palu and winger Drew Mitchell have yet to return from serious injuries sustained during the Super Rugby season, while Barnes and center Rob Horne have rejoined their club sides.

"We've been watching (the injured players) and we know where they're at, but today is an opportunity to see them and talk to them," Deans said.

"We've got the squad resolved, it's just communicating it now."

                  Matt Giteau scores a try during the Wallabies' shock loss to Samoa in July [GETTY]

However, a number of Wallaby greats feel Deans should reconsider his squad and spare Giteau the axe.

"He's too good a player to leave out of the squad in total," former flyhalf Mark Ella told Wednesday's Daily Telegraph.

Stephen Larkham pointed out the backline options that Giteau, who has scored 684 test points, would offer the Wallabies.

"Gits can play anywhere, including halfback. He's very versatile, is a left-foot option and is very experienced," the 1999 World Cup winner said.

"You want someone like that in the squad."

Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, who led Australia's 2003 World Cup campaign, was in no doubt the 28-year-old was a still a world-class player and should be included.

"He's still got it, mate," he told the paper.

"He understands the game, is a left-foot kick and can play nine, 10 and 12. Not many footballers can do that.

"He'd be in the top three halfbacks running around in Australia anyway."

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