AP – Matt Giteau has a perfect showcase for his Wallabies claims when he and his Toulon teammates attempt to clinch a third straight European Champions Cup title at Twickenham on Saturday.
Back in the Wallabies’ World Cup selection frame following the ARU’s new 60-Test rule, Giteau and teammate Drew Mitchell will get to display their credentials in European club rugby’s biggest game.
And they will do it on the same ground which will host the World Cup’s Australia v England pool match and the final in October.
Toulon meet arch-rivals Clermont in an all-French final – a repeat of the 2013 match up.
The 32-year-old Giteau has been a pivotal player for Toulon in their run of success which includes two European Cups and a French championship, but he insists Clermont, with the veteran Australian pivot Brock James, will be favourites to prevail this time.
“For me, they have been the best team this year,” said Giteau.
“They have played well all the time, they have done their work…For me they are favourites in the final, but in a match such as this there’s no harm not being favourites.”
The epic extra-time victory over Irish province Leinster in the semi-final earlier this month was just Giteau’s second match back after injury.
He said he did not mind whether he played at five-eighth or inside centre in the final, with mercurial French veteran Frederic Michalak an option at No.10.
And Giteau insisted Toulon were focussed on winning the match, not on the potential achievement of a hat-trick of European crowns.
“We know it is something pretty special if it happens, but are we thinking about the treble, no.
“The treble is something you reflect on when you are 60-years-old, and say ‘ah yes, it is special’, but at the moment all that counts is winning the trophy.”
Stacked with big-name import internationals, Toulon are currently leading the French Top 14 ladder, four points clear Clermont.
Mitchell’s decision to join Toulon was inflenced heavily by the presence of great friend Giteau.
But the 63-Test winger admits he was initially uncertain what to expect with so many former Test stars present.
“But the dynamic is based on respect,” he told epcrugby.com.
“We have all come across each other in the world of rugby and played against each other in big games and you wanted to prove why you’re here.
“These players have got this point in their career because they are competitive and that’s not going to change.”