England 9-18 Australia, Twickenham, November 7
Giteau: Wallabies never lost belief
Scrum.com
November 7, 2009
Australia fly-half Matt Giteau looks to spread the play, England v Australia, Twickenham, London, England, November 7, 2009
Matt Giteau kicked eight points in Australia's victory over England at Twickenham © Getty Images
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Australia fly-half Matt Giteau insisted that the Wallabies always believed that they could turn things around in Saturday's 18-9 victory England.

The Aussies, who had gone into the game having lost six of their previous seven games, found themselves 9-5 down at the interval at Twickenham - despite scoring the only try of the first half, through Will Genia.

However, Robbie Deans' men dominated after the interval and Adam Ashley Cooper's 70th-minute try ultimately decided the game in their favour. Given their recent form, Giteau was unsurprisingly thrilled that the Wallabies had maintained their composure and belief after an awkward opening 40 minutes.

"It's been well reported how disappointed we were after the Tri-Nations and we put a big emphasis on this game - I think we underlined that with our performance in the second half. I think we kicked a lot better, got good field position and our line-outs functioned a lot better," the No.10 told Sky Sports after the game.

"At half time, we felt we were doing enough but we were giving away too many penalties. We were also creating chances but we just needed to be more disciplined and hold on to the ball. We knew that if we did that the chances would keep coming.

"It certainly didn't feel comfortable at any stage because I think England were threatening all game. I think it's a different England side, they're always looking to attack and they opened us up a few times. So it was never comfortable but we did create a lot of opportunities. We just didn't take them and hopefully we'll take them the next day."

While Giteau played his part in Australia's victory, kicking eight points as well as turning in an excellent defensive display, it was his half-back partner Will Genia who walked away with the man of the match award for an excellent all-round display.

Genia may be just 21 but he has already drawn favourable comparisons with Australia's legendary No.9 George Gregan. Giteau feels it is too early to be mentioning Genia in the same breath as Gregan but he has nothing but praise for his young team-mate.

"I don't want to place too much pressure because George Gregan's a legend of the game and a legend of Australian rugby but Willie's a great player, as you saw today. He's got all of the skills and, defensively, he's very strong. It's only early in his career but he's playing very well," he said.

Giteau was also reluctant to get carried away when it came to his country's chances of becoming only the second side to complete a clean sweep on a tour of Great Britain and Ireland.

"It's definitely possible but it's a bit too early to start talking about it yet. We've got Ireland to come next weekend and then after that it's Scotland and Wales so it's far too early to be thinking about it," he said.

Meanwhile, England flanker Lewis Moody that Australia's superior match sharpness had ultimately proved the difference between the two sides.

"We battled hard all game - Australia were slicker than we were. We defended a lot of the second half and the tries we conceded were quite soft in the end. But they were more clinical than us on the day.

"The ball they had, they used better. We never gave up, and it was frustrating to lose at the end when it was close with 20 minutes to go. We've just got to build on it from here."

Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, who accounted for all England's points, was also doing his best to remain upbeat at the full-time whistle, arguing that the players deserve credit for the defensive resilience they had shown during the second half.

"We spent a lot of the game defending against a lot of momentum. When you give a very good side that kind of ball in that area of the field, to do what we did defensively was great," he said.

"The great thing is that this is a fantastic squad in attitude and energy and where we are prepared to take this. It's our first turn, and we're going to use it to bring us tighter."

England team manager Martin Johnson had no complaints about the final scoreline and is also of the opinion that there is still plenty more to come from his side.

"Overall, they deserved to win. But there were chances for us to do more. In the second half, they dominated territory to such an extent that they're going to score points," he admitted.

"But that team is playing its first time together - Australia have come straight out of the Tri-Nations and a Test match."

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