Top 14 Orange
Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, James O'Connor return to Toulon
November 28, 2015
Matt Giteau in action
Matt Giteau© BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images

Matt Giteau wants to kick-start Toulon's Top 14 Orange campaign against Clermont this weekend to bury the horror of losing the Rugby 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 by the All Blacks at Twickenham, saying "coming second is like coming last".

"You play a World Cup to win.

"It was good experience, sad, but beautiful. I needed a few weeks off afterwards, however. The problem was in my head."

Giteau said he had struggled watching Toulon slump to fourth on the Top 14 ladder, behind Clermont, Toulouse and Racing 92, but "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," he told a press conference in Toulon. "We have improved our attitude and little things, small details."

Giteau's Wallabies team-mate Drew Mitchell is also due to return to action this weekend, and he is also keen to put the World Cup behind him.

"It's never nice to go through a campaign and then lose in the final," Mitchell said.

"We've had time to digest that now though and want to focus on our objectives here."

Mitchell suggested that Toulon's European Cup and Top 14 campaigns would be galvanised with the return of all their World Cup players.

"The guys who came in a did a great job. It looks worse than it is. We had 18 players at the World Cup."

James O'Connor is another Australian who has returned to Toulon, in his case after joining Queensland Reds in a failed bid to make Michael Cheika's Wallabies squad.

"It's good to be home," O'Connor said.

"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."

O'Connor said that he did not regret 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," O'Connor said. "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."


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