Connolly's Giteau gamble


Wallabies centre-come-scrumhalf Matt Giteau has issued a warning ahead of Saturday night's Test against Wales, that he won't be playing the halfback role like any other No.9 in world rugby.

John Connolly's gamble to put one of the world's best No.12s into the halfback role has met with some criticism, but it could be the Wallabies coach justifiably laughing if Giteau can use his immense rugby talent to bring home a World Cup.

"The way John wants me to play is to play my own game; still instinctive and not play like any other halfback," Giteau said during Wallabies training this week. "Basically play the game how I would like to play it.

"Obviously No.12 is my preferred position because I get more space to run with the ball. At scrumhalf I am not afforded the same amount of space but we are trying to develop a style of play at No.9 where I can run the ball a bit more

"The reason John has picked me there is so I can attack the transition zone a little bit more. Your loose forwards get a bit tired around the ruck that is the plan, so we will have to see what happens."

Connolly first put the 'Giteau at scrumhalf' idea into practice during the Wallabies spring tour to the UK and Italy last November and will continue the experiment with this season's opening Test against Wales this Saturday night at Telstra Stadium in Sydney.

Giteau will start at No.9 with veteran halfback George Gregan on the bench for the Test against the Welsh. The Western Force playmaker has revealed he is somewhat daunted by the role but is looking forward to the challenge.

"I am a little bit more confident this time around. I didn't sleep too well the night before the last time I played Wales," recalled Giteau.

"I only had a week or so to get up to speed with the position, but it is still exciting and a little bit daunting especially playing five-eighth and inside centre throughout the year for the Force.

"I haven't had too much experience playing the position but I am looking forward to it."

Giteau has spent the last week of Wallabies training re-familiarising himself with the position and has benefited from informative coaching sessions with Gregan and back-up scrumhalf Sam Cordingley.

"For little tips I have asked Greegs (Gregan) and Sam Cordingley at the first camp - just your service delivery and things like that - the basics for the halfback.

"I have obviously played inside centre and five-eighth for the Force so it is just a matter of getting those basic things right.

For his re-introduction to the scrumhalf role in international rugby Giteau takes on cheeky Bath No.9 Mike Phillips, who has made it clear he will be doing his best to expose the limitations of the young Australian at the halfback.

"That's good. I wouldn't expect it any different," responded Giteau.

"I think the first Test last time Dwayne Peel was exactly the same. But I am looking forward to it. It is going to be a big challenge but I don't think I am going to let him have an easy game either."