The injury crisis in the Wallabies back line has set in train several extraordinary events. But none more extraordinary than a gesture extended by Matt Giteau to Robbie Deans after a well documented falling out before last year's World Cup.
A Wallabies spokesman confirmed Giteau, who plays for Toulon in France's Top 14 competition, last month sent Deans a series of messages offering his services to the national team.
The gesture comes a year after the former Brumbies inside back was sensationally excluded from the Australian World Cup squad and proceeded to make several provocative comments about Deans on social media, including one hastily deleted remark calling for Ewen McKenzie to take over as Australian coach.
It is understood those controversies have been left in the past and the pair exchanged pleasantries in their most recent communications.
Giteau's offer would be appreciated but it is the intentions of former Wallabies halfback Luke Burgess on which Deans is more likely to sweat.
While Deans did his best yesterday to play down reports he was set to ask the Australian Rugby Union to consider allowing France-based Burgess to be eligible for selection on the end-of-year tour to Europe, it is understood Deans contacted Burgess about the idea several weeks ago.
The process went no further than a sounding-out. No formal approach has been made to the ARU or to Burgess's management teams.
The former Waratahs halfback, who was the second-choice No 9 behind Will Genia and ahead of Nick Phipps last year, has just started his second season with Toulouse and is, by all accounts, very happy in France.
An opportunity to be the starting halfback for the Wallabies must be enticing for Burgess, who spent much of his first season with Toulouse playing second fiddle to Argentine Nicolas Vergallo.
But his Australian manager, Mike Newton, said no formal approach had been made to him.
The fundamental principle proscribing a player signed overseas from being selected for the Wallabies, is something no one believes the ARU board would be easily convinced to change.
''It would be a big precedent, it would be something that, if they considered it, they wouldn't take lightly,'' Deans said yesterday.
''More importantly we've got a couple of good blokes here. Brett Sheehan's stepped in and done a great job. He's been fantastic within the group, and [Phipps] is responding to the challenge superbly.''
Deans also hosed down reports Genia would leave Australian rugby next year, saying such speculation was common as part of the negotiating process.
Halfback is not the only position causing headaches for the Wallabies coaching staff. Yesterday's news that Dom Shipperley required surgery on a wrist injury and would miss the end-of-year tour puts further pressure on the squad's wing stocks, which are already missing Digby Ioane.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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