Matt Giteau’s playing future could be decided before Christmas after his management took the crucial step of holding direct talks with Australian Rugby Union boss John O’Neill.
RugbyHeaven Aus reports that the ARU chief executive is understood to have met Giteau’s manager James Erskine in Sydney to discuss the Wallabies flyhalf’s Super 14 contract status.
It was the most significant recent sign of progress in the contracting situation, which has dragged on for months since a third-party sponsorship deal that lured Giteau to Perth collapsed.
Giteau is angry at being left hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket by the demise of discredited fuel technology company Firepower.
He is on contract with the Western Force for next year, but is believed to want an immediate release so he can return to his former club, the Brumbies.
There is a sense of urgency that the matter be resolved before the new year as Wallabies players are due to return to training with their provinces in the second week of January.
Giteau is believed to be currently holidaying in the United States and if he was to return to training with the Brumbies at Griffith Oval, he would need time to relocate from Perth.
The Force believes it has a legal and binding contract with Giteau, which he should fulfil. Third-party deals are made separately to playing contracts, which the Force says puts it under no obligation to cover his lost earnings.
While the ARU has refused to publicly comment on the situation, any attempt by Giteau to exit his contract would almost certainly need its approval.
If securing a quick exit proves impossible and Giteau reluctantly sees out his final year in Perth, the Brumbies are confident he will sign on for 2010 and 2011 the remaining years of his ARU contract.
There is a possibility a decision and an announcement on those two years could be made before the end of this year.
In that case the Force would be in the unprecedented situation of having its marquee player complete a full season while his future rested with a rival team.Tweet