Veteran playmaker Matt Giteau has joined the Wallabies in camp in Sydney as coach Michael Cheika gets his full train-on squad to work with.
Giteau is believed to potentially be sacrificing a six-figure amount to make himself available for his country in the Rugby Championship after his French club Toulon talked tough about docking his wages.
Team officials said the 33-year-old veteran of 102 Test matches was in good spirits when he entered the camp after arriving back in Australia early on Monday morning.
With the Brumbies contingent also arriving after a week’s break following their short-lived Super Rugby finals campaign, all 36 train-on squad players are together in Sydney.
The only player with a fitness issue being managed is veteran winger Drew Mitchell, who is recovering from groin surgery.
Mitchell, who also plays for Toulon, is expected to be fit and available for the Rugby Championship opener against world champions New Zealand at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on August 20.
Cheika has worked his charges hard in closed sessions over the past week and they will continue to train in Sydney this week before heading to the NSW Cental coast next week for a five-day camp.
Cheika has retained the same group of assistant coaches who helped him last year, and newly-appointed national skills coach Michael Byrne is now also involved with the program.
Although Cheika is believed to favour the appointment of fulltime assistants, that won’t be happening this year.
He will again be assisted by attack coach Stephen Larkham and defence coach Nathan Grey, who are the Brumbies head coach and the Waratahs defence coach respectively.
Former Argentinian Test front rower Mario Ledesma will again oversee the scrum.