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Giteau vows to step up against 'Boks

By Jim Morton 27/08/2009 06:42:51 PM Comments (0)

Off-key Wallabies maestro Matt Giteau has vowed to put his kicking woes behind him and step up in the absence of playmaking partner Berrick Barnes on Saturday night.

Giteau has shouldered much of the blame for the gut-wrenching 19-18 Tri-Nations loss to the All Blacks and is working overtime to make amends against high-flying South Africa.

While coach Robbie Deans on Thursday made four changes to his starting team, his five-eighth's general play kicking was another area he pin-pointed for improvement.

Giteau had his low skidding kicks charged down several times by the All Blacks, with one leading to the only try of the match at ANZ Stadium.

With Barnes (concussion) ruled out and the powerful Adam Ashley-Cooper taking his place at inside centre, Australia will rely more heavily on Giteau's tactical kicking against the formidable world champions.

"I was charged down a few times and that was due to poor execution and it's something I've worked on this week," Giteau said.

"Losing a guy like Berrick Barnes ... I do need to step up and the last two Tests I haven't kicked as well as I would have liked."

Giteau attributed his problems - mainly a low elevation - due to "little technical things" which would be corrected at Subiaco Oval.

Coach Robbie Deans said his No.10, who started 2009 on fire for the Western Force, had already shown on the training paddock he'll be back to his best against the unbeaten Springboks.

"He started the season very accurately and some of his (current) performance elements are unusual for him," Deans said.

"It's out of the ordinary for him but they are imminently fixable."

But former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones believes it's Australia's style of play under Deans which has affected the dangerous Giteau's all-round game.

"He (Giteau) enjoys that flat game taking on defenders," Jones told South African website

"Now they're playing a New Zealand style where it's deep and wide and he's struggling to impose himself in Tests."

Giteau will have two big centres outside him against the Springboks with Ryan Cross moving into the midfield with the versatile Ashley-Cooper, meaning James O'Connor will remain at fullback.

Deans has recalled winger Peter Hynes at the expense of Drew Mitchell, dumped veteran prop Al Baxter for Ben Alexander and rushed Mark Chisholm back into the second-row for the injured Nathan Sharpe.

Chisholm, who has just two Sydney club matches under his belt after being sidelined for more than three months with a wrist injury, also faces the massive challenge of calling the lineouts against the Springboks.

Victor Matfield dismantled the Wallabies' set piece in South Africa's 29-17 victory in Cape Town.

Chisholm, himself surprised to get an immediate starting recall, indicated Australia would be much snappier in their execution.

"First and foremost they really slowed the lineout down (in Cape Town) and it gave Victor and the South Africans the chance to see what we were trying to do and what we were trying to achieve and I guess the key for us is to quicken that aspect of the game up," he said.

In five meetings between the sides in Perth, the ledger is even with two wins each and a draw.


James O'Connor, Lachie Turner, Ryan Cross, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Hynes, Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess; Richard Brown, George Smith (capt), Rocky Elsom, Mark Chisholm, James Horwill, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Res: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Al Baxter, Dean Mumm, David Pocock, Will Genia, Quade Cooper, Drew Mitchell.

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