Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell has dismissed Matt Giteau’s fears he may not be up to Test standard ahead of Saturday night’s Rugby Championship clash with South Africa in Brisbane.
Recalled centre Giteau, 32, revealed he would speak with coach Michael Cheika if he felt he was not up to scratch in his first Wallabies campaign since being overlooked for the 2011 World Cup.
Giteau, who stars for French club Toulon, was called back into the Wallabies squad after the ARU changed eligibility rules for overseas-based players who have at least 60 Test caps.
“He’s a straight up, honest guy (Giteau) and if he thinks he’s not up to it, he will have that chat but I think his form warrants it; he is consistently a top-three player in Europe,” said Mitchell, Giteau’s Toulon teammate.
Giteau looks set to be picked at inside centre when the Wallabies team is named on Thursday for the Rugby Championship opener at Suncorp Stadium.
Yet the 92-Test veteran admitted ahead of the clash that he felt his call-up felt “unjustified” and that he needed to prove he belonged.
However, Mitchell said Giteau had reached another level since leaving Australia and backed his friend to prove it, starting with the Springboks showdown.
“He’s a better player now, rugby has found a rightful place in his life,” he said.
“He’s got a wife and kids now.
“He said in the past he put too much importance on rugby, felt the pressure through the media and found himself not being able to play to the best of his ability.
“But he’s a better player now, a more rounded player.
“We will see that if he gets an opportunity.”
Mitchell added: “But I am pretty sure if we are not up to it it will be pretty obvious (on Saturday night).
“We won’t have to seek Cheik for that conversation – he will seek us.
“Either way we will know where we stand if given the opportunity – we will either be on the flight to the next destination the Wallabies are playing or on a flight back to France.”