Wallabies must step up, says Giteau - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies must step up, says Giteau

By Adrian Warren 17/08/2009 05:05:42 PM Comments (0)

Five-eighth Matt Giteau says the entire Wallabies' backline must step up and show more leadership against the All Blacks on Saturday in the absence of injured skipper Stirling Mortlock.

Australia's backline has only sparkled sporadically in their first two Tri-Nations losses to New Zealand in Auckland and South Africa in Cape Town.

With Mortlock sidelined by injury for the remainder of the tournament, key playmaker Giteau emphasised the need for the Wallabies to display collective responsibility.

"As a backline, we all need to step up a lot more, take a lot more leadership with Stirling gone," Giteau told reporters on Monday.

"There's some very capable players, whether they go with Adam Ashley-Cooper or Ryan Cross at outside centre, both have proved that they can play at Test level.

"Last year when we were playing the game (against New Zealand) in Sydney, Crossy was brought in late and performed really well and we went out and won that game.

"I think that shows that if we lose someone like Stirlo, there's just more of an emphasis on everyone else to step up and take more of a leadership role."

Ashley-Cooper is tipped to move from fullback to outside centre to cover for Mortlock in the ANZ Stadium clash, with youngster James O'Connor coming off the bench to take the No.15 jersey.

Coach Robbie Deans has hinted powerhouse flanker Rocky Elsom will make his long-awaited return from injury in the starting side at blindside flanker, with Richard Brown likely to move from that spot to No.8 in place of Wycliff Palu.

New Zealand also name their team on Tuesday, with five-eighth Dan Carter expected to return to the starting side.

While Carter has played just three club and provincial games following a lengthy layoff, Giteau said he was preparing to face a player who would be at his best.

Halfback Luke Burgess revealed the emphasis at Wallabies training had been on improving their composure and making better decisions.

Australia frittered away opportunities in their first two Tri-Nations games through some inconsistent play.

Asked how the Wallabies intended to turn things around after those losses, Burgess said: "I think just connecting a bit better, being a bit more composed, I think is probably the secret.

"We've been talking about that. That's probably where we need to put our focus.

"We've got the skills and it's just a matter of being able to make the right decision at crucial moments.

"Test rugby punishes you if you are inconsistent and you don't make the right decisions."

Burgess said the Wallabies had probably put themselves under pressure by trying to play an up-tempo game and "perfect rugby" when the opportunities hadn't been there.

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