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Thread: Giteau relishing extra duties

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    Giteau relishing extra duties

    Giteau relishing extra duties

    Greg Growden in Montpellier | September 19, 2007

    Matt Giteau is accustomed to being Australian rugby's Mr Fix-It. He will fill in at halfback when George Gregan is not around, or is running out of steam. He can take over at No.10 when others are out of sorts. And when everyone is around, Giteau will keep everything together at No.12.

    At this World Cup, Stephen Larkham's unexpected absence until the finals has handed Giteau another responsibility - being Berrick Barnes's shadow, acting as a second five-eighth and an alternate playmaker to further bamboozle opponents. And as shown in the victory over Wales in Cardiff last weekend, Giteau is relishing the extra duties, quickly developing an interesting and fruitful partnership with the Wallabies novice.

    When playing at No.12, Giteau has occasionally been wasted. With Larkham sometimes cutting Giteau out of the play with wide passes to the charging Stirling Mortlock, Australia's highest-paid player discovered that he is more regularly used as a support than a prime attacking weapon.

    However, in the 100-odd minutes Barnes and Giteau have been together on the field at this World Cup, it is clear that the new five-eighth wants to give the experienced inside-centre every opportunity to show his wares. It is almost to the extent that Giteau has become an alternate No.10.

    That was evident during the Wales Test, when Giteau repeatedly attempted to act as a second playmaker, which included trying special moves with wingers Drew Mitchell and Lote Tuqiri.

    One clever play in the first half saw Giteau run across the field, giving Tuqiri a signal with his right hand to loop in behind him. Wales were sucked in by that one. Tuqiri ran the right line, waiting for the inside pass, but Giteau just kept going, sneaking in behind the Welsh defence near the sideline.

    It didn't lead to a try, but it showed that Giteau was enjoying the opportunity to attempt something different.

    And already, Barnes and Giteau have developed a good relationship, knowing exactly where the other is on the field.

    Their understanding was evident in Australia's first try, when Giteau followed Barnes through a gap then, just before the pivot was smashed by Wales fullback Gareth Thomas, took the pass and ran away to score under the posts with his customary leap.

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    Champion Contributor Jehna's Avatar
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    Couldn't have said it better myself. Though i'm not sure he's too keen on being Mr Fix-it...more the challenge aspect

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