Giteau relishing Wallabies return

2015-10-21 12:39
Matt Giteau (AP)

London - As one of the senior statesmen in the Australian team who thought his days with the Wallabies were over, Matt Giteau knows the importance of seizing the moment.

Like his team-mates, Giteau was relieved just to make it to the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup after the Wallabies came within a whisker of losing to Scotland next weekend.

But for the 33-year-old Giteau, the lone survivor from the Australian team that played in the 2003 World Cup final, that's all the more the reason the Wallabies need to make the most of the lifeline they were given.

"I'm just happy we survived another week, and now we've got another game, a semi-final of a World Cup, so it's huge," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"We take a lot of from the way we regrouped and how calm we were we took a lot of confidence from that."

The Wallabies have already endured a brutal path to the semis, having to beat England and Wales in the pool stage then squeaking home by a point against the Scots, but the road ahead is harder still.

Their semi-final opponents on Sunday are Argentina, who have been in brilliant form, losing narrowly to New Zealand in their opening match but crushing everyone in their way since, including Ireland in last weekend's quarter-finals.

"They're incredibly dangerous, you saw what they did to Ireland, and how far they were able to push New Zealand in the first round," Giteau said.

"Every game they've been really good and they've been blown some teams away quite easily so they're a very dangerous team."

The last time Giteau faced the Pumas was at the 2003 World Cup, when he was just starting out on his international career. He came off the bench as a late replacement for Steve Larkham.

His decision to leave Australia and join French side Toulon after the 2011 World Cup seemed to mark the end of his international career, with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) only selecting home-based players.

However, the ARU changed its rules this year and agreed to allow players with 60 caps or more to rejoin the Wallabies from overseas, giving Giteau a second chance.

The utility back did not play against Argentina earlier this year but has noticed the remarkable improvement in the Pumas since they joined the Rugby Championship in 2012 and says the Wallabies will need to be at their best to win.

"For us, it's a semi-final, there's only really good teams left every game is going to be tough," he said.

"You can't underestimate them, we won't underestimate them. It's a semi-final, you can't, it just won't happen."

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