2009 Wallabies hungry, Giteau says - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

2009 Wallabies hungry, Giteau says

By David Beniuk 01/06/2009 07:32:56 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies superstar Matt Giteau believes version two of Robbie Deans' Australian side will show more hunger as the Kiwi supercoach prepares to announce his first team of the international season.

Far from being more at ease in year two of the Deans regime, Giteau said competition for spots meant the squad was on edge as it prepares for its first hit-out of 2009, against the Barbarians at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night.

Deans will name his first 22 of 2009 on Tuesday.

"Because of the depth and the way Robbie's got everyone challenging for positions, no one's assured of a starting spot so no one's really at ease," Giteau told reporters on Monday.

"You've still got to work hard and train the best you can and prepare and do all that so you can get that position so I think there's a lot more hunger within the group."

Giteau said a first-up clash with the Baa Baas, traditionally a festive occasion of free-flowing rugby, would not mean the Wallabies explore their ability to throw caution to the wind.

"I don't think it's a chance for the ad lib," he said.

"Obviously you've been used to the patterns you've been playing at Super 14 level so you've got to get familiar now with the patterns that we want do here at the Wallabies and the calls.

" ... So we've got these four Tests (against the Barbarians, Italy and France) which give us a chance to really sharpen up and get ourselves nice and ready for a Tri-Nations."

That would suggest Deans is ready to name a conservative line-up, although speculation has suggested players sent back to club rugby last weekend, including star winger Lote Tuqiri, would sit out the match.

There are few contentious positions, although whether Dean Mumm starts at blindside flanker or covers lock from the bench, with the Western Force's Matt Hodgson wearing the No.6 jersey, is one decision Deans and his selectors will need to make.

Force teenager James O'Connor is expected to get the nod at fullback, and Giteau said he would handle his second straight encounter with the Barbarians.

"If he's given his opportunity, he's always been a pretty confident guy so I don't think he'll lack any confidence so I'm sure he'll be fine," Giteau said.

One position not in doubt is Giteau's, and the five-eighth said he was feeling more comfortable in the position heading into this international season.

"I feel a lot more confident this year than I did this time last year because it was a little bit of the unknown," he said.

"I hadn't really played a Test series or gone into Tests just playing flyhalf ... so I'm a lot more confident in my role and I certainly know exactly where I need to be at to play my best football in that position.

"Kicking was something that I focused a fair bit on, being able to do different types of kicks ... and I suppose just being able to direct things and trying to get control of a game when you feel you're losing it a little bit."

Possible Wallabies team: James O'Connor, Peter Hynes, Stirling Mortlock (capt), Berrick Barnes, Lote Tuqiri, Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess, Richard Brown, George Smith, Dean Mumm, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill, Al Baxter, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Res: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Ben Alexander, Matt Hodgson, David Pocock, Josh Valentine, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Timana Tahu.

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