Matt Giteau is heading back to his club side Toulon for ankle surgery, and admits his Wallabies’ playing days are likely over.
Giteau, 33, is flying back to France on Wednesday night after suffering ankle syndesmosis, with surgery on Monday and said his focus would be on repaying the faith of his French club.
It took a number of conversations for the 103-Test veteran to negotiate a release from Toulon and the Wallabies back is adamant about ensuring he returns to his peak fitness for Toulon and adding to his three European Cup titles.
“The club is extremely supportive and they’ve been good from the outset, so all I can do is stay positive and start the rehab and the process at home, and add to the team off the field as best I can, and as quickly as I can,” he said.
“Once it happened I knew straight away the best thing would be to get back to my home and family and into the Toulon program and start my rehab and get my surgery done and back on the park.”
Once Giteau arrives in France, he will be assessed by a surgeon and while the length of his layoff is yet to be determined, Giteau said he would be unlikely to line up for the Wallabies again.
“As far as long-term I haven’t thought about it too much but off the top of my head - I think Australian rugby is in a great spot and there’s plenty of young talent coming through,” he said.
“The last two Tests I played haven’t gone the way I wanted but I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
”Maybe it’s a sign that I need to go back and repay the faith of Toulon, but I’d be happy to come back and help Australian rugby in the future, even with giving advice, but playing might not be the best way to do that.”
Despite his curtailed return, Giteau said he had no regrets from his latest Wallabies stint.
“I’ll never regret it,” he said.
“Getting injured it’s not great but there are so many people that are worse off.
“It’s ust been everything that I love to do - play for my country and play in front of my brothers and my family,” he said.
“These are once in a lifetime opportunities and it’s something I’d never think twice about.”
The French Top 14 season started last weekend, with Toulon going down to Bayonne 28-23 in the opening weekend.