Giteau to replace Larkham - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Giteau to replace Larkham

By Melissa Woods 11/05/2003 07:45:10 PM Comments (0)

Matt Giteau is set to take over injured Stephen Larkham's five eighth spot for the Brumbies' Super 12 semi-final against the Blues in a possible pointer to Wallabies selection.

Giteau's star continues to rise in Australian rugby ranks after another outstanding performance at inside centre in the Brumbies' 28-21 loss to the Crusaders on Friday night.

Larkham dislocated his elbow, fracturing a bone, in the match and will be sidelined for Saturday's semi-final and Australia's upcoming Tests against Ireland, Wales and England next month.

Giteau's switch to No.10 against the top-ranked Super 12 side in such a high stakes match will provide Australian selectors with a clear gauge of his ability to adapt to the role at international level.

Elton Flatley has been a reliable back-up Wallaby five-eighth to Larkham, but he faces a major challenge from the versatile Giteau, with his creative and elusive skills.

If he fares well against the Blues, Giteau could be given his chance at Test level against Ireland and Wales as the Wallaby selectors consider their World Cup options.

ACT coach David Nucifora won't do the selectors any favours by playing Giteau at No.10 at Eden Park if it doesn't suit his game plan, but admitted today it was an "obvious option".

Giteau played five-eighth in round three and four when Larkham was floored with a virus, and filled in again when he damaged his ribs early in their round six 41-15 loss to Blues and didn't return after halftime.

That heavy defeat doesn't augur well for the Brumbies, especially with winger Andrew Walker also out injured this time but Nucifora remains upbeat.

"It's disappointing for everyone that he (Larkham) won't be there but that just makes it that much more of a challenge.

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