Wallabies boast class in World Cup year - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies boast class in World Cup year

Darren Walton 19/06/2011 02:53:54 PM Comments (0)

It is an exciting sign of the vastly-improved depth in Australian rugby that long-time automatic selection Matt Giteau is hoping rather than expecting to be picked next month for the Wallabies.

Giteau is a shoo-in for Robbie Deans' 40-man squad for Australia's Test against Samoa on July 17 and the ensuing Tri Nations campaign, with Brumbies' coach Tony Rea claiming his inspirational leader should be among the first players chosen in the Wallabies starting XV.

But the classy midfielder was not counting his chickens, despite once again being outstanding in the Brumbies' season-ending 41-7 Super Rugby shellacking on Saturday night at the hands of the NSW Waratahs.

"It's a bit of the unknown. I don't really know what happens now," Toulon-bound Giteau said after setting up his side's lone try and slotting the sideline conversion in an otherwise forgettable farewell appearance for the Brumbies.

"You love to be a part of the Wallabies and starting, but you've got other options there - James O'Connor, Anthony Faingaa has had a great year ..."

With the brilliant Quade Cooper owning the Wallabies No.10 jumper, Giteau's best chance of starting would be at inside centre, especially with Test incumbent Berrick Barnes' immediate playing future up in the air as he recovers from footballer's migraine.

"From my point of view, you don't want to get a position through (an injury to someone else)," Giteau said.

"Obviously something has happened to Berrick, so I'd love to see him back playing and hopefully challenging for one of those starting spots."

Watching from the ANZ Stadium stands, Deans had to have been impressed with Giteau.

"It's not the result he wanted at the end, but clearly his performance was absolutely outstanding again," Rea said.

"His leadership was great. He bustled his way through a big contest. I've never seen anyone like him. He does it in training - non-stop in training.

"He's buggered every week from trying to lift the group and carry them forward."

Rea said the 91-Test veteran would be "first picked" in his Wallabies starting side.

"Because you need competitors. You're going to need experience, you're going to need toughness," he said.

Giteau was handed the Brumbies' captaincy this season for the first time, with regular leader Stephen Hoiles and Wallabies skipper Rocky Elsom sidelined with injury, and he rose to the challenge week in and week out.

"For me this year, I feel I've got no regrets," Giteau said.

"I gave everything I could for the Brumbies this year and I'm personally been reasonably proud with how I've played."

Rea said it was a shame that many Australian rugby fans misread the 28-year-old playmaker as a grump and hard character to deal with, perceptions that Giteau himself had learned to accept.

"I am who I am and, as long as I've got the respect of my teammates and my family and obviously my wife as well, and my friends, that's all I really care about," he said.

"People you don't know are going to judge you. Whether they judge you rightly or wrongly, there's nothing you can do about it."

Deans will name his initial 40-man Wallabies squad on July 10, the day after the Super Rugby final, and announce his final 30-man squad for the World Cup on August 18.

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