Farr-Jones wants Giteau at scrumhalf - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Farr-Jones wants Giteau at scrumhalf

By Dave Donaghy 27/02/2006 07:07:23 PM Comments (0)

Former Australian captain Nick Farr-Jones has called on the Wallabies' brains trust to unleash dynamic utility Matt Giteau at scrumhalf in the build-up to the 2007 World Cup.

Farr-Jones, who played 63 Tests for the Wallabies in the position, said Giteau could be the wildcard Australia needed to regain its mantle as the world's most fearsome team.

His comments came just a day after South African legend Joost van der Westhuizen labelled George Gregan a spent force in international rugby.

The former Springboks captain told Fairfax newspapers that Gregan looked "scared" of taking hits and would be targeted by rivals during the Super 14 season.

He also said Gregan would struggle to retain his place in the Wallabies team headed by new coach John Connolly.

Astute judge Farr-Jones, who attended a charity golf day at Hope Island on the Gold Coast, said Giteau had "fantastic potential" to be a dynamo feeding the scrums.

He claimed Giteau - who has been linked to a move to NSW next season - could be just as important to the Wallabies' World Cup hopes as New Zealand sensation Daniel Carter was to the All Blacks'.

"I think he has fantastic potential and I think I heard that the Waratahs might be trying to lure him into their squad for next year," Farr-Jones said.

"I suspect Ewen (McKenzie) would be looking to replace (NSW skipper Chris) Whitaker and play him at scrum half.

"I think he's a fantastic player. If we've got anyone who's got the potential to be what Daniel Carter is to New Zealand - and he's absolutely a key player for New Zealand and arguably the best player in the world at the moment - I think Giteau has got that sort of potential."

The Waratahs sent a massive scare through the Brumbies' camp last week when they nominated Giteau, off-contract at the end of the year, as a player of interest for 2007.

The 23-year-old whiz, who already has 31 Test caps to his name, is expected to be one of the hottest free agent talents on offer if the Brumbies can't secure him to a new deal.

Farr-Jones said if NSW managed to lure him north then Giteau should seriously contemplate moving closer to the scrum, should McKenzie ask.

Farr-Jones, however, was considerably less complimentary towards the Wallabies' pack despite an acknowledgment of an increased focus on "primary possession stakes" by the Australian Super 14 franchises this season.

He said new coach Connolly, who replaced Jones this year, had his work cut out for him.

"It's pretty simple - if you can't hold your own in the primary possession stakes, which is scrum and line-outs, then you really are starting on the back foot," Farr-Jones said.

"When your scrum gets touched up and when you can't win your good percentage of your line-out ball, you really are starting behind the eight-ball, and I think Connolly will address that.

"Whether he's got time to do it properly with the cattle that's available? Time will tell."

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