Giteau loves being Wallabies' main man - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Giteau loves being Wallabies' main man

By Darren Walton 25/06/2009 04:39:00 PM Comments (0)

Matt Giteau says more than ever he is relishing the opportunity to show the Wallabies who's the boss.

Two-time World Cup-winning Wallaby Tim Horan on Thursday heaped lavish praise on Giteau, claiming he was years ahead of the great Stephen Larkham when it came to the art of mastering five-eighth play.

Giteau took the rich compliment in his stride, saying he'd made a conscious decision to aim up in all aspects of his game following the international retirements of Larkham and fellow Test stalwarts George Gregan and Chris Latham after Australia's ill-fated 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign.

Set for his 67th Test on Saturday night against France at Sydney's ANZ Stadium, Giteau said the switch from inside centre to flyhalf also necessitated an attitude change.

"It's been a big focus of mine," Giteau said.

"Losing the seniority and the guys that we had probably 18 months ago meant that a few guys needed to step up and take more leadership.

"And moving into one of the primary calling roles, it was something I needed to work on and it's something I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with now as well.

"I've always loved being able to boss forwards around, but now every now and again the forwards listen.

"It takes a lot of pressure off Stirlo (skipper Stirling Mortlock) too if we can spread that leadership and responsibility as well."

Horan believes Giteau's maturity has allowed the 26-year-old to blossom into the game's premier midfield general, as important to the Wallabies as Dan Carter is to the All Blacks.

"He's really grown as a leader," Horan said.

"He's starting to dictate play not only for himself, but also trying to organise players around him.

"To be a leader and be in a position of 10 or 12, you've actually got to push and tell forwards and tell other players where to go.

"He seems to have done that. Probably especially since the 2007 World Cup, in the last 18 months, he's really taken that leadership role to another level.

"That's something Stephen Larkham only did in his last couple of years, so it's pleasing to see that Gits has got those qualities.

Horan also noted how Giteau and Berrick Barnes had suddenly given the Wallabies an attacking kicking game.

"The Wallabies are now kicking to actually try and get the ball back, rather than kicking as a defensive play," he said.

"So he's certainly worked on that aspect of the game. He's really benefited from having Berrick Barnes outside him, a second pair of eyes who is actually thinking exactly how Gits is thinking as well.

"And he's really started to grasp how to keep the defence guessing."

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