Australian Rugby
Giteau will kick on for Wallabies
September 14, 2010
Matt Giteau is shattered by their defeat to New Zealand, Australia v New Zealand, Tri-Nations, ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia, September 11, 2010
A dejected Matt Giteau reflects on his off day after defeat to the All Blacks © Getty Images

Australia will stick with Matt Giteau as their primary goal-kicker despite his wayward display in defeat to New Zealand on Saturday.

The centre missed two penalties and two conversions as the Wallabies slipped to a one point defeat at ANZ Stadium, their tenth successive loss to the All Blacks. The performance comes on the back of Giteau's missed kicks in defeat to England earlier this year, and a high-profile error from the tee when Australia lost to Scotland at Murrayfield last November.

The Wallabies let a 22-9 lead slip in what is now becoming a trademark second half collapse, but they were left to rue Giteau's profligacy as the Tri-Nations champions roared back to steal victory. And the gifted centre will retain his kicking duties when the teams meet again in Hong Kong to contest the Bledisloe Cup at the end of October.

"There's no doubt going forward Matt will still be the No.1 kicker in the team and he's earned the right to be the No.1 kicker in the team," Wallabies assistant coach Richard Graham told AAP.

"Matt kicked at 84 per cent during Super Rugby. Whilst some of his kicking throughout the Test season probably hasn't been as consistent as he'd liked to have seen it or we'd like to have seen it ... the guy can goal-kick. There's obviously a flaw in his kicking that in situations becomes apparent and doesn't allow him to be as consistent as he wants to be but in terms of what that flaw is I couldn't tell you."

Coach Robbie Deans would not be drawn on Giteau's kicking performance, preferring to address the task of hauling in New Zealand. And although he acknowledges his side has improved, he is not willing to settle for coming close against the country of his birth.

"It's evident that the group is progressing. But the All Blacks are still the benchmark," he said. "The step's not enormous but it is going to take an effort. We've just got to keep going, it's that simple. You don't become No.1 in the world without an effort. You can't package it, no matter which way you look at it, we're disappointed. We came to win, we're prepared to win and we didn't win.

"You've got to give the All Blacks credit for what they've achieved, what they've done in recent times. They're playing good Rugby, they're the best side in the world but we're not resigned to that. We'll just keep working on our own game, working on what we bring to the game."

Deans said the most pleasing aspect from his team's Tri-Nations campaign was the development of a squad he feels has the depth to carry the team into next year's Rugby World Cup.

"There are any number of players who are integral, the good thing is the number who have integrated into our team," he said. "I take great heart from that, not the fact that we're closer on the scoreboard."


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