Australia’s Matt Giteau wants to kick start Toulon’s Top-14 campaign against Clermont this weekend to bury the horror of losing the World Cup final to New Zealand.
The Toulon five-eighth who has more than 100 caps for Australia has been brooding since the 34-17 defeat to the All Blacks in the World Cup final.
“Coming second is like coming last, you play a World Cup to win,” said the 33-year-old from Sydney.
“It was good experience, sad, but beautiful. I needed a few weeks off afterwards however. The problem was in my head,” he explained.
Giteau said that watching Toulon slump to fourth in the Top 14 behind Clermont, Toulouse and Racing 92 had been hard but that the regrouped team were focused on Saturday’s game at Clermont.
“We’re all really up for it. This week we’ve been feeling better, done some good work and we are going to play better. We have improved our attitude and little things, small details,” he told a press conference in Toulon.
His compatriot wing Drew Mitchell is also due to make his return to action this weekend and also keen to put the World Cup behind him.
“We were hurt at the time, it’s never nice to go through a campaign and then lose in the final,” said the 31-year-old.
“We’ve had time to digest that now though and want to focus on our objectives here.”
Mitchell suggested that with the return of all the World Cup players Toulon’s European Cup and Top 14 campaign’s would be regalvanised.
“The guys who came in a did a great job. It looks worse than it is. We had 18 players at the World Cup,” he explained.
Another returning player for Toulon is James O’Connor who left Toulon and went to play for Queensland Reds in a failed bid to make Michael Cheika’s 2015 World Cup squad.
“It’s good to be home,” said O’Connor.
“My last game (of Rugby) was five months ago. I can’t wait to get back on the field, nail down a position and be a starter for Toulon,” he said.
The 25-year-old was asked if he regretted his decision to return to Australia given he missed the cut for Australia and a European Cup with Toulon.
“I can’t see it as a mistake. If I had to do it again I would do. But I’d also have loved to stay here and take part in the European Cup.”
“These are life choices,” he lamented.
Toulon are defending European champions seeking a fourth successive title, have 16 players in their squad from eight different countries who were away at the World Cup.