Bledisloe pain driving Wallabies: Giteau - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bledisloe pain driving Wallabies: Giteau

By Darren Walton 03/11/2009 03:36:35 PM Comments (0)

Playmaker Matt Giteau says the Wallabies are using the pain of their seventh consecutive Bledisloe Cup loss to New Zealand as added motivation to make a triumphant start to their grand slam tour on Saturday.

Giteau says pride in the national jersey, as much as the rare opportunity to complete a sweep of England, at Twickenham on Saturday, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, is fuelling desire among the Wallabies.

"Obviously to lose any match when you're representing your country is pretty tough," Giteau said on Monday.

"But you've got new challenges each week and we face them as that - new challenges, another opportunity.

"The best thing about sport - it's always said - if you mess up one week, you've only got a week before you get a chance to try to rectify it.

"As much as it was disappointing to lose in Tokyo, we see this as a huge challenge and something that's very exciting.

"Some guys haven't even played at Twickenham so what a great occasion."

The newly-crowned John Eales Medallist admits the tradition surrounding this year's spring tour was rammed home to the Wallabies last month at a special dinner where they met some of Australia's legendary 1984 grand slammers, including Mark Ella, Nick Farr-Jones and Andrew Slack.

"It was great to talk to them," Giteau said.

"Obviously the tradition and history behind that grand slam is still around and a lot of the current players are still quite proud of what was achieved in '84.

"But, for this group, we'd be silly to look at four games and look too far ahead.

"The biggest thing for us is to focus on that cliche of week-to-week football. It really is true. You can't look past England at this point, so that's all we're focusing on."

Ella famously inspired the '84 Wallabies with a try in every Test in the British Isles.

A quarter of a century on and Giteau is now the key player the Wallabies are looking to for inspiration.

"The biggest thing for me is the enjoyment - to obviously enjoy my football and hopefully that will reflect in the way I'm playing," Giteau said.

"Then hopefully if I'm playing my best football, that's all I can ask and hopefully that will help the team.

"If everyone's playing their best football, then hopefully we'll get the results we're after."

Coach Robbie Deans is backing his backline ace to deliver.

"Personally, I thought Matt had an outstanding game last weekend (in Australia's 32-19 loss to New Zealand).

"If he maintains that, he'll enjoy his footy enormously and so will his mates," Deans said.

Giteau is shouldering even more responsibility than ever following the loss of Berrick Barnes, who had been set to share the Wallabies's midfield playmaking duties.

"The way we were training before he got injured was great," Giteau said.

"We had a good combination. I felt we were training the best we ever had. So, from that point of view, it's very disappointing not to have a guy like Berrick here.

"It's more disappointing for Berrick. Last year he got injured in Italy, so that's twice now he's missed these spring tours.

"They're great opportunities to experience rugby and play at great stadiums, so I'm disappointed for him.

"It's a huge loss for the team."

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