Ashley-Cooper keen for Giteau at No.12 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ashley-Cooper keen for Giteau at No.12

By Samantha Broun 19/10/2009 06:09:25 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is keeping his cards characteristically close to his chest but it appears utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper has been peeking over his shoulder.

Ashley-Cooper on Monday confirmed rampant speculation that new vice-captain Berrick Barnes will be Australia's new flyhalf on the Wallabies end-of-season tour, with incumbent playmaker Matt Giteau shifting to inside centre.

Barnes and Giteau have recently been sharing the playmaking role but Ashley-Cooper backed Barnes to run on wearing the No.10 jersey for the fourth Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand in Tokyo.

"They're both very good directors of the game and great callers, but I guess you've got to play to your strengths," Ashley-Cooper told AAP from Wallabies camp in Coogee.

"Barnesy likes calling so maybe he'll play 10 and Gits has always played his best football at 12 so I think that could work and we hope it works.

"The best thing about it is, it doesn't matter who starts where ... and that's the beauty of it.

"We've never had a team where both 10 and 12 can play 10 dominantly and that's going to create a lot of attacking options.

"Sharing No.10 changes up the landscape of the attack and mixing it up in the backline creates a lot of doubt when you defend against it."

The charismatic 25-year-old admits while he expects a shift in the backline to reap rewards, he doesn't know where exactly he'll fit into Deans' plans.

Veteran centre Stirling Mortlock is intent on regaining his No.13 jersey after injury and if Deans sees it the former captain's way Ashley-Cooper will have to unseat incumbent fullback James O'Connor to stay in the starting XV.

Ashley-Cooper said he doesn't mind what number he wears on his back during the month-long Grand Slam tour, and neither does anyone else in the squad.

"I've done a lot of swapping over the time and if Dingo (Deans) decides to swap me again, it wouldn't bother me at all," he said.

"You just don't know do you, that's what Robbie does, he keeps his cards very close to his chest and that's why competition (within the squad) is so tough.

"It keeps everyone guessing and you just don't know until team selection, until your name is on that board and it's official, do you know what position you are playing.

"If Stirling comes back I'd assume he'd move back into the 13 role.

"All I've got to do now is train well and do everything I can to get a number on my back.

"I guess the unknown has allowed me to get where I am today, the unknown, a little bit of fear, you've just got to use it in the right way," he said with a grin.

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