Rugby: Giteau could give up $200,000 to play for Wallabies

Matt Giteau warms up ahead of last year's Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand at Twickenham, London. Photo / Getty Images
Matt Giteau warms up ahead of last year's Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand at Twickenham, London. Photo / Getty Images

He gave up $250,000 last year to play in the World Cup, and now Matt Giteau will forego another six-figure sum to help the Wallabies end their 13-year Bledisloe Cup misery.

The star playmaker was finally given a release by French club Toulon to join Australia's camp, but again will receive none of his huge salary while playing for the Wallabies, leading national coach Michael Cheika to question the system in place.

Giteau, the second-highest paid player in the world behind Dan Carter, earns about $1.6 million annually at Toulon yet will lose up to $200,000 if he plays through the entire Rugby Championship and final Bledisloe Cup match on October 22.

He will receive the standard Wallaby Test match fee of $10,000 for each game he plays in the TRC, which could total $70,000 if he is in the 23-man squad for every one.

But given the financial sacrifice he made last year to be part of the World Cup, few would have begrudged Giteau had he decided to remain in Toulon and earn the big bucks this year.

"Maybe the years that Matt missed out on playing for Australia, imagine how much that must have hurt him, if this is what he's doing now to play for Australia," Cheika said, reverencing Giteau's controversial exit from Australian rugby in 2011, which resulted in four years of Test pergutory.

It is not only Giteau giving up significant money to play for Australia.

All of the Wallabies' foreign-based players; Drew Mitchell, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Will Genia, will be lighter in the pockets following TRC.

"Matt and Drew, who are in that situation, and all the lads who have come from overseas - it wasn't a straightforward chit chat with the club owners to get them back - they [the players] have pushed those discussions," Cheika said.

"Players are starting to realise that it's not just about money, you've got to make the most of your career on all fronts, achievement is why we're playing the game.

"I don't think anyone's playing this game for a job, not at this level."

But World Rugby's regulation 9 law was essentially set up so players would not be financially punished by their clubs to represent their countries.

"The situation is pretty clear from [Toulon's] end, if [Giteau] is not there he is not getting paid, it's the same for Drew as well," Cheika said.

"I talked to the boys about it, we're not really sure about that whole situation.

"Why it has taken a bit longer is that we wanted to have a proper dialogue with the clubs. It didn't go how we wanted it to, in the time frame that we wanted it to.

"We're still hoping we can have a dialogue to change that and help our players get across that barrier."

Cheika left playmaker Christian Lealiifano out of his squad after Giteau was confirmed as returning.

Backrower Wycliff Palu has retired from international rugby, Cheika revealed, while lock Rory Arnold is injured.

Cheika added that he would have considered Liam Gill, Greg Holmes and Dave Dennis but that their agents had falsely told their overseas clubs they'd be available now, leaving him in a bind.

"Agents have been selling off players and promising them to clubs overseas," Cheika said.

"I spoke to the Toulon owner, he didn't know Liam Gill was in a contract til the 31st of December. The players are being put in really difficult situations.

"In these instances this year with these players, I really didn't want to let them go, but these players have been put in the middle of difficult situations by their agents by promising overseas clubs certain things that they're not certain they can deliver."

Wallabies 36-man squad for The Rugby Championship:

Allan Alaalatoa, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Adam Coleman, Quade Cooper, Kane Douglas, Scott Fardy, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Nick Frisby, Will Genia, Matt Giteau, James Hanson, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper, Rob Horne, Sekope Kepu, Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, Ben McCalman, Sean McMahon, Drew Mitchell, Luke Morahan, Stephen Moore (captain), Dean Mumm, Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Will Skelton, James Slipper, Toby Smith, Lopeti Timani, Matt Toomua.

- news.com.au

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