Matt Giteau announced on Friday that he was definitely hanging up his boots at the age of 40 after a globe-trotting career and 103 caps with the Wallabies, where he will remain known for being the originator of a rule that largely contributed Australia’s fine run at the 2015 World Cup, where it reached the final.
“It was such a great experience I will miss it but I have exhausted all the possibilities of this game and the contracts have dried up,” the former fly-half wrote on social media.
“I’ve spent half my life playing this great sport as a professional and traveling the world to do it,” he added.
He especially thanked his wife and children “who sacrificed so much for my preparation and for me to play for so long”, he said, explaining that they had agreed to “move to different countries, different schools and away from their friends so I can play (and) achieve my dreams”.
Giteau played in France between 2011 and 2017, at RC Toulon with whom he won three European Cups (2013 to 2015) and a French championship in 2014. He then went to play in Japan and then in the United States where he had won the North American Rugby Championship (MLR) at the age of 38 with the Los Angeles Giltinis franchise.
But he is best known for the so-called “Giteau” rule, which allowed players with more than 60 caps who played seven seasons in an Australian franchise before moving abroad to continue to be eligible for the national team.
This rule allowed the player who played seven seasons in the Australian clubs of the ACT Brumbies then the Western Force between 2003 and 2009 to find the Wallabies just in time for the 2015 World Cup, with his RCT teammate Drew Mitchell, while the selection was going through a bad patch.
Both players had been essential in the competition and Australia had reached the final, losing to New Zealand (34-17) at Twickenham.
Giteau, who had ended his international career the following year, had already experienced a World Cup final, in 2003 against England.