SPECULATION ABOUT THE likelihood of Wallabies fly-half Matt Giteau securing a place in Robbie Deans’ World Cup squad appears to have come to an end.
An official announcement has yet to be made, but recent messages on the Western Force star’s Twitter account suggest he’s coming to terms with omission from the final 30-man panel.
Giteau, who had been considered integral to the Wallabies set-up as recently as 2009, is rumoured to have fallen out with Deans, leading the latter to regard him as a potentially disruptive influence in the dressing room.
Further complicating the matter is the availability of Quade Cooper, Berrick Barnes and Nick Phipps, each of whom can excel at halfback.
Speaking to Australia’s Fox Sports, former Australia captain and seletor Andrew Slack was at a loss to explain the fly-half’s growing alienation from the team’s management.
“From outside the team environment, I can’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be picked,” Slack told AAP.
“I know Giteau was close to being the Australia captain for the 2007 World Cup but it’s just got me flabbergasted… one of them needs to grow up, or both of them.
“Talent, experience, class, versatility and healthy (match fit) – they’re five compelling factors I would have thought.”
If Giteau’s World Cup career appears to have come to an end, then, the same cannot be said of that of his former Western Force teammate Drew Mitchell.
Suffering from the recurrence of an ankle injury, the winger had been relegated to the periphery of the Wallabies’ tournament preparations. A message appearing on Mitchell’s Twitter account this morning, however, seems to confirm his selection while simultaneously expressing regret at the failure of his close friend to make the grade.
Australia’s next challenge comes in ten days’ time, when they face New Zealand in the finale of this year’s Tri-Nations.