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Dodgy weather helps Wallabies: Giteau

15/09/2009 06:30:14 AM Comments (0)

Wallabies five-eighth Matt Giteau believes Wellington's notoriously dodgy weather may be the reason Australia fare better there than in other New Zealand cities.

Australia have an awful recent record in New Zealand, where they have lost their last nine Tests to the All Blacks since a 2001 win in Dunedin.

They have, however, won four of their last six matches in Wellington, where they complete their Tri-Nations campaign this Saturday.

Star playmaker Giteau isn't sure why the Wallabies prosper in the New Zealand capital, but feels it might have something to do with their approach to Wellington's notorious climate.

"I'm not too sure, weather-wise it's always windy, it's always wet, you know what to expect," Giteau said.

"Whether we go in there with a different mindset or a more focused mindset knowing it's going to be pretty tough conditions, maybe that's been the reason."

Before irate Wellingtonians berate Giteau for his unflattering assessment, they should know the forecast for the match day on Saturday is for rain.

New Zealand-born Wallabies coach Robbie Deans wasn't about to rush in and defend Wellington's honour.

While Deans felt the All Blacks would like to play more expansive rugby on Saturday, he believed the Wellington weather could thwart both teams' attacking aspirations.

"With the Wellington wind, we haven't seen too many open free-flowing Test matches at that arena, let alone between the Wallabies and the All Blacks," Deans told reporters.

He gave short shrift to a question about Australia's recent good run in Wellington.

"I'm not aware (of the record) and I don't care, I only care about Saturday," Deans said.

Young Wallabies fullback James O'Connor said the infamous Wellington wind was potentially "a big issue".

"I've spoken to (Wallabies team-mate) Lachie (Turner) and got a bit of advice from some of the other boys," O'Connor told reporters.

"They reckon, due to the wind, it sort of pushes the ball back to the middle of the field, so I think definitely where I stand will play a big role."

The normally assured and confident teenager looked a little shaky in a bench cameo in Auckland earlier this year, but said he had learnt from that game.

"I think I tried to overplay my hand a little bit too much, so I've just got to play for the team and go hard," O'Connor said.

Because of his New Zealand bloodlines, O'Connor is one Wallaby assured of some support in Wellington, though he said some of his cousins remained All Blacks fans.

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