Matt Giteau’s Wallabies career has ended in despair, with scans revealing the 103-Test warrior has a broken ankle.
Giteau lasted just 10 minutes of Australia’s 42-8 loss to the All Blacks on Saturday night and will play no further part in the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship campaign.
Turning 34 next month, Giteau is shattered in the knowledge that he has almost certainly played his last match for Australia.
Giteau made a big financial sacrifice to put his country before French club side Toulon, where the midfield playmaker is among the highest-paid players in world rugby.
He made no secret that he returned home to Australia during the French Top 14 season to have “one last crack” at Bledisloe Cup glory.
But that dream, and his leg, was crushed at ANZ Stadium, with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika on Sunday confirming Giteau – along with fellow back Rob Horne, who likely requires a shoulder reconstruction – will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship.
“Matt’s got a bit of a break in his leg at the top of his leg and a bit of a fracture in his ankle. Good job on his leg,” Cheika said.
“He’s disappointed but he’s also very realistic.
“He’s a pro. He knows that he’s still got to get himself right and get back to his club commitments for later in the season so that’s what he’ll be doing.”
Despite his status as one of Australia’s modern-day greats, Giteau never got his hands on the silverware that matter most.
In addition to featuring in 10 unsuccessful Bledisloe Cup campaigns, Giteau twice suffered World Cup final heartache as a member of Australia’s teams that lost the 2003 decider in extra time to England in Sydney and to the All Blacks last year at Twickenham.
The two biggest trophies Giteau landed in Australia were last year’s Rugby Championship and the Super Rugby crown with the Brumbies in 2004.