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Giteau reveals Wallabies' plan

By Darren Walton 05/08/2009 12:03:55 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies five-eighth Matt Giteau is hoping to avoid a goalkicking shootout with Springboks flyhalf Morne Steyn in Saturday's Tri Nations Test in Cape Town.

But he still believes the Wallabies can put the boot into the Boks at Newlands.

Giteau realises Australia need to match the world champions in tactical kicking to have any hope of notching their first win in the 2009 tournament.

And, with able support from centre Berrick Barnes and halfback Luke Burgess, that's what Giteau plans to do.

"The Springboks use their kicking game very effectively," Giteau said.

"From my point of view, having a guy like Berrick outside me and Luke inside me, they are two good kickers and that helps my game. It takes a lot of pressure off me as far as kicking is concerned.

"If we look at most of the Tri-Nations games, they are all decided by who is able to put the most pressure on the opposition and who is able to get the best field position and generally that comes down to the kicking game.

"Our kicking game was poor against New Zealand (three weeks ago in Auckland). I thought we were out-kicked in that game. Hopefully it won't happen against the Springboks this weekend."

Giteau slotted 55 from his 65 attempts at goal in Tests last year, his 85 per cent success rate one of the best in world rugby.

But while his strike rate has dropped marginally to 76 per cent in 2009 - with 13 goals from 17 shots at international level - Steyn is rapidly developing a reputation as the finest goalkicker in the world.

Giteau scored all 22 points in Australia's 22-6 win over France in June, but Steyn raised the bar when he contributed all 31 of South Africa's in their 31-19 victory over New Zealand in Durban last Saturday.

His swag of points, a Tri Nations record, included eight penalties and took his strike rate to 90 per cent - 19 goals from 21 attempts - since making his Test debut in the Springboks' series win over the British and Irish Lions last month.

Given both stars' impressive success rates and the similar pressure-based playing styles of the Wallabies and Springboks, Giteau was asked if he thought Saturday's clash may be decided by a goalkicking shootout.

"The way he hit them (last Saturday), I hope not," he said.

"The last time I played him was here when he was playing for the Bulls (in Super 14) and I was with the Force and again his kicking proved the difference.

"He nailed a lot of penalties that day. Our discipline was poor that day and he punished us for it.

"He did the same last weekend and, if our discipline is poor, with his kicking accuracy, we will get punished again."

While the All Blacks failed while adopting distinctly different approaches in their two Tests against the Springboks, using a safety-first kick-focused approach in Bloemfontein and a high risk expansive game in Durban, Giteau said the Wallabies needed to strike a balance at Newlands.

"Being able to have that variety and apply pressure in different ways throughout the whole 80 minutes will be crucial for us," he said.

"We'd like to score as many tries as you can. But it is about getting into a good field position and, once you're there, being able to attack from there."

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