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Giteau confident of facing Western Force

08/02/2010 05:49:02 PM Comments (0)

Matt Giteau holds little fear injury or a Perth crowd backlash will derail his Brumbies comeback on Friday but the Wallabies playmaker is wary of the balding journeyman opposing him at five-eighth.

Giteau, to test his quad strain on Tuesday morning, is confident of lining up in the Super 14 opener against his old team Western Force, piloted by ex-Brumby Mark Bartholomeusz.

Bartholomeusz, 32, has emerged as the Force's backline general following a season-ending hamstring tear to South African import Andre Pretorius.

The former Brumbies utility, who played alongside Giteau in the 2004 Super 12-winning team, showed he'd lost none of his rugby smarts and skill with a stand-out display at flyhalf in last Friday's 31-12 trial win over Queensland.

Force coach John Mitchell has the option of giving Test young gun James O'Connor the No.10 jersey Giteau wore last year but Giteau himself felt Bartholomeusz, who has spent the last five years in the northern hemisphere, was the best fit.

"He showed in that Reds game and I think he got man of the match so he's not a player you can underestimate," the 78-Test back told AAP.

"If anything we'd probably give him more credit than he's due if possible purely because we know what he's capable of from his (seven) years here.

"But I'll give him one bit of advice and that's to shave his head because I think his hair's not looking too attractive but he's playing some good football so that's all that matters."

Brisbane product Bartholomeusz, who played 68 games for the Brumbies and one Test for Australia before heading overseas, now sports a significant bald patch.

Set to stay at five-eighth, Giteau's first concern is the quad which he tore a fortnight ago and will test by stretching out with sprint training in Canberra before flying to Perth on Tuesday.

"I'll be running full speed tomorrow," he said. "That will be a big gauge.

"I'm pretty confident but having said that if at any stage I feel I'm compromising the group by playing I won't go on but at this stage I'm fairly confident."

Despite being desperate to oppose the team he spent three seasons with, Giteau won't push himself and jeopardise his 2010 campaign.

"You win or lose this game it doesn't define the whole season, it's not the be all and end all - it's just another game and that's how we're approaching it."

Giteau is pleased to get his Force return out of the way immediately, and is fully braced for a backlash from the Members Equity Stadium fans.

"I don't think I'll get a real positive (reception), probably a bit similar to the one I got when I came here to Canberra (in 2007) to play the Brumbies."

The Brumbies have already been boosted by the likely return from injuries of Wallabies forwards Rocky Elsom and Ben Alexander.

Matt Toomua is on stand-by for Giteau at five-eighth with Christian Lealiifano, impressive at No.12 against NSW in the 15-7 trial loss, to start the season at inside centre.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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