Coaches slam Giteau's axing

2011-07-20 18:53

Sydney - The past two coaches to take Australia to a World Cup have criticised Robbie Deans's decision to axe Matt Giteau and are adamant he should be the starting inside centre at this year's tournament.

According Rugby Heaven correspondent, Chris Dutton, Eddie Jones and John Connolly jumped to Giteau's defence after the departing Brumby was left out of the 22-man Test squad to play South Africa on Saturday night.

Jones said Deans had ''pulled the wrong rope'' by dropping Giteau, while Connolly rated the 28-year-old as one of the mentally toughest players he had seen.

Being omitted from the clash with the Springboks has cast doubt over Giteau's involvement in the Wallabies' World Cup campaign.

And Jones - who led Australia to the 2003 World Cup final - was baffled by Deans's decision and said opposition teams would be happy to see Giteau left out.

''I think the whole thing is quite sad to be honest,'' Jones said.

''If I was a supporter, the one player I'd be happy to pay money to see would be [Giteau] - he gives his heart every week.

''Right now, for some reason, Robbie doesn't see him as the answer at No 12.

''I just think he's [Deans] pulled the wrong rope there entirely. Gits is a world-class player at his best and it's not going to take him much to get back to that.

''I know the All Blacks will be happy he's not playing.''

Giteau was the biggest casualty after the Wallabies woeful loss to Samoa last weekend.

With Quade Cooper being rested, Giteau played at five-eighth but failed to get his team on the front foot.

Connolly insisted the 92-Test veteran needed to be given a major role if the Wallabies wanted to be successful at the World Cup.

Connolly was in charge of Australia for the 2007 tournament and revealed he almost made Giteau captain instead of Stirling Mortlock.

And Connolly still says Giteau is one of ''the toughest characters I've ever coached''.

''I've coached first-class rugby for 20 years and two people spring to mind for what they bring to team [in toughness] - Matt Giteau and Tim Horan,'' Connolly said.

''They are mentally tough, they'd die for the team and Giteau was very unlucky not to be captain of the 2007 World Cup team. Stirling got the nod because we wanted some continuity because we didn't know where Gits was going to play.

''He would have to be one of the first selected [for the World Cup], but I stress he's a No 12, not a fly-half. I would have him in the XV.''

''Matt Giteau gives a team so much steel, he's a champion.''

With Cooper taking the five-eighth reins and Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor capable of being back-up playmakers, Giteau doesn't have a place in the team.

But Jones said a Cooper-Giteau five-eighth-inside centre combination could still work and would be a weapon at the World Cup.

''The grounds are going to be heavy in New Zealand, to have a left-footer [Giteau] at inside centre is a massive advantage with Cooper as a right-footer at No 10,'' Jones said.

''I'd use Giteau more on second and third phase when Cooper's out of the game.

''There's definitely a way to use them both in the same team.''


Springboks: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Danie Rossouw, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Johann Muller, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 John Smit, 1 Dean Greyling

Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Alistair Hargreaves, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Adrian Jacobs, 22 Patrick Lambie

Wallabies: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 James O'Connor, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Sekope Kepu

Substitutes: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Nathan Sharpe, 19 Matt Hodgson, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Anthony Faingaa

Rugby Heaven

  • Karoobloed - 2011-07-20 20:00

    Great player - Deans is probably just tryng to give hime a wake-up call. And a very good Aussie team in spite of his omission - the boks "B" team is going to be severely tested on Saturday...

  • Stompies - 2011-07-20 21:00

    TO many playmakers in one team, and TWO different playing styles/cultures (Reds vs the rets) to make them succeed

  • Magoo - 2011-07-20 21:14

    I'm very disappointed that he is out of the Aussie team - was definitely our best opportunity for a win. MG should have moved to Japan two years ago - the most overrated player in Aus by far. He has been the disruptive influence in Aus and Brumbies rugby for a long time now. He's got some skills but his ego overshadows his and his team's efforts. In a word: PRATT!! Bring him back for the WC - it'll help us that little bit more!!!

      Adop - 2011-07-21 14:19

      agree and the Force! He is a good player maybe mentally to strong or is it stubborn. I will play him at 12 for the world cup.

  • GraemeBB - 2011-07-20 22:20

    I respect Giteau alot. If Cooper creates space, he will be extremely dangerous. Giteau has always had the nack of scoring tries against us. It is as if he saves himself for the Bok clashes. I should be happy that he isnt playing against us, but I aint. I agree, he is as tough as nails, and he is a great. Sorry mate - seems like the Aussies also get it wrong. That being said - I hope the Boks smack you boys hard on Saturday! Go Bokke!!

      Crusader Man - 2011-07-21 09:37

      good luch m8.. hope your team performs well... I agree Gitz is a good player, he always plays wll against NZ too... thrilled if he isn,t selected..

      InternetMan - 2011-07-21 09:38

      Remember when he gave Fourie a flying elbow in the face and didnt even get cited(I think it was last years trinations)? You still respect him?

      GraemeBB - 2011-07-21 18:22

      @Internetman - I also remember Burger trying to take out some Lion's eye, and we still respect him. Bakkies headbutt, but still respect him. Jaque Fourie's spear tackle, but still respect him. And so the list goes on. I remember alot of players making the wrong choices, and dont define them by single acts of stupidity, but rather an era of good play.

  • Avguy - 2011-07-21 00:55

    AD Jacobs in the South African side again..I can't friggin believe it. I can think of at least 4 other players who are better centres and deserve that place more.

      Raymond - 2011-07-21 21:53

      Avguy-I agree with you 100%.There ARE so many better centres that have shown great form in the Super 15 than the over rated ADJ.Lets not even discuss the hookers.I hope the Aussies win 49-0 to prove a point to our obstinate coach.

  • MB1810 - 2011-07-21 08:04

    Agreed - Gitaeu is class, he might not be in the best form of his life, but he is still considerably better than most backs, he is a play maker that has the ability to single handedly change the game. McCabe is a strong runner and everything, but I think they might miss Giteau's distribution skills.

  • Makutu - 2011-07-21 08:41

    There are better players. Get over it, OK!

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