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Giteau warns Genia not to read own press

By Darren Walton 11/11/2009 01:10:21 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies star Matt Giteau is urging Will Genia not to get caught in the hype as the young halfback revelation continues to draw lavish comparisons with rugby legends George Gregan and Nick Farr-Jones.

The British media are claiming "the ghost of the great George Gregan is finally laid" and that "time stops for Genia" like it did for Farr-Jones following the Test rookie's commanding man-of-the-match display against England last Saturday.

Giteau is also tipping a bright future for the 21-year-old, but believes it's "too early to say" if Genia will end up as one of Australia's all-time great No.9s.

"Straight after the England game I was asked `is he the new George Gregan?' and that's a huge amount of pressure to put on someone," Giteau said.

"George Gregan is a rugby icon, not only in Australia but worldwide, so there'll only ever be one George Gregan.

"But if he can continues to work hard - and the signs at the moment are showing that he will - and he doesn't get caught up in the media as far as the hype and things like that, I think potentially he could be a player that's going to be playing Australian rugby for a long time.

"Certainly from the signs that he's shown so far, he's a quality player and he's got certain qualities in him that could take him a long way, and hopefully they do.

"The confidence and composure he has shown in the Test matches and his opportunities to date have been good.

"His instincts are probably the biggest thing. When there's opportunities there, he'll bounce out and run.

"He's also a pretty talented ball player. He's got a great short ball that he throws, that inside pass and he can also hold up defenders and put forwards through holes."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says Genia - now sure to be a target for wary opposition teams - will need to adapt to the extra pressures in the same way Giteau did.

Giteau has been through a similar experience and is encouraging Genia to stick to his natural game.

"You need to pick and choose your moments, but the fact that he would be a marked man makes it easier for other players outside him," said Giteau, one of the main beneficiaries of Genia's meteoric rise.

The Wallabies playmaker says the emergence of Quade Cooper as a genuine Test centre also eases the burden on him.

"A lot was written about Will - and there's no doubt that Will played well - but I thought Quade was outstanding," Giteau said.

"He got his hands on the ball very early so he was able to settle into the game and, field position-wise, we were able to set up a right and left footer.

"So that takes more pressure off me rather than having Will there.

"Having said that, the way Will attacks around the ruck takes a lot of pressure off not only me but also the forwards as well."

Not fussed about whether Digby Ioane or Ryan Cross plays outside centre, Giteau says it's exciting times for Australia's new-look backline.

"We're creating tryscoring opportunities and we're just that one pass away from scoring two, three, four tries," he said.

"So that's a real positive."

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