Giteau feeling pressure, says ex-Wallaby - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Giteau feeling pressure, says ex-Wallaby

By Jim Morton and Ben Horne 09/08/2010 04:19:03 PM Comments (0)

Former Wallabies back Gary Ella has criticised Matt Giteau for overplaying his hand and stilting Australia's attack in their twin Bledisloe Cup failures.

Ella believes the misfiring backline star was feeling the pressure to perform better and, as a result, played too selfishly in the 49-28 and 20-10 losses to New Zealand.

With the sorely-missed Quade Cooper sure to return to five-eighth against South Africa on August 28, Giteau will certainly be forced to move from No.10 although halfback Will Genia dismissed suggestions he could be dropped.

Genia praised the starting debut of no-nonsense Queensland teammate Anthony Faingaa at inside centre but said there was no way Giteau should be relegated to the bench for an all Reds 9-10-12 inside back combination.

"I don't want to take anything away from Anthony but the fact is you have one of the best players in the world playing at No.12 so you would never not pick Gits I think," he told AAP.

"With the sort of game we want to play really suits Quadey at 10 and Gits at 12, that combination, and it would be good to have them both back playing where they have played well so far."

Ella was frustrated to see Giteau miss rare attacking chances against the red-hot All Blacks by going himself or turning the ball back inside.

"I just think he should underplay a little bit, there's a couple of players in the Australian team at the moment who I think are overplaying their hand," said the former Test centre.

"They're getting the ball when there's people unmarked on the outside, and people who are in better positions on the outside and the ball isn't going straight ahead.

"I think that's the confidence that we're talking about, I think that's the more they play together the more confidence they have in each other and the more they'll trust the calling (for) the ball from the guys on the outside.

"If Giteau feels he's under pressure then he plays under pressure and then he plays a little bit to himself.

"I think if he gets the message that he's there and he's a leader in the team that's going to be there to lead the guys around the paddock then I think he'll play a lot better and I'm sure Robbie Deans is talking that language to him."

Ella also pointed to young sensation James O'Connor as another who tries too hard to force the play.

"Obviously (O'Connor) dominated schoolboys, he dominated all these teams, he comes in and now he's still trying to play by himself too often," he said. "Matt Giteau's a little bit the same.

"There were times this year when the Brumbies had a lot of injuries and he had to make a lot of the play, I still think he's trying to make that play in an Australian team when they should be playing as more of a 15 than individuals."

Cooper's importance to the Wallabies has been highlighted by the fact a decision on whether the playmaker returns from Tri-Nations suspension through Brisbane club rugby on Saturday has been deferred.

While Genia will have a hit-out for Norths, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans appears reluctant to risk Cooper whose Souths team needs a sizeable final-round win to make the semi-finals.

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