Horan: Bench Giteau
Sydney - Australia coach Robbie Deans should play 20-year-old utility back James O'Connor outside Quade Cooper and demote stalwart Matt Giteau to the bench, according to former Wallaby centre Tim Horan.
"James O'Connor has to be in the 15 and then where do you put him?" Horan said in comments published by the Australian newspaper on Saturday. "He has got to be close to the action. On the wing he is too far away."
After starting his career at fullback, the 27-Test back has been largely employed on the wing but has also appeared at home in the midfield for Western Force in Super Rugby. He signed a two-year deal to play for the Melbourne Rebels last month.
While Deans has locked the Reds' dangerous duo of Will Genia and Cooper in the scrumhalf andflyhalf positions, inside centre remains a problematic proposition for the Wallabies.
Former flyhalf incumbent Matt Giteau has played there with mixed results while strong candidate Berrick Barnes is taking an indefinite break from the game after suffering concussion-like symptoms throughout the Super Rugby season.
Horan, an 80-Test Wallaby and one of the most highly regarded inside centres to have played the game, said Giteau should be in Australia's best 22 for the World Cup starting in September but Deans should use him off the bench.
"I'd be happy to have Giteau on the bench to cover nine, 10 and 12," said Horan, a member of Australia's 1991 and 1999 World Cup-winning teams.
"Giteau's experience has got to be there somewhere. I don't know where they are going to find a spot for him. It will be interesting to see what they do."