Giteau ready for on-form Carter
August 17, 2009
Matt Giteau shares a joke with his team-mates  during a Wallabies training session at Leichhardt Oval, Sydney August 17, 2009
Wallaby fly-half Matt Giteau is looking forward to his duel with New Zealand's Dan Carter © Getty Images

Australia playmaker Matt Giteau fully expects Dan Carter to be at his peerless best if the fit-again All Blacks fly-half is selected for Saturday's eagerly-awaited Tri-Nations clash in Sydney.

Carter has only just returned to action after being sidelined for six months with an Achilles injury. However, the Kiwi number ten has impressed for Canterbury in recent weeks and Giteau is readying himself for a fully fit and on-form Carter.

"I regard him as the best fly-half in world rugby so for me it's a huge challenge and one I'm looking forward to," Giteau said. "I will be preparing as if he'll be in his top form. That's how I'm expecting it.

"If they pick him, he's fit and if he's fit he will be playing well. That's the way I will be approaching it - that he's in good form."

Giteau concedes, though, that his own form is something of a worry going into the game in Sydney.

"As a side we're just that little bit off and individually I feel a bit the same. Training has gone well and I'm preparing well and once we get into some running rugby it will be good and I'm able to get more involved in the game. That's the biggest thing, just getting more involved," he said.

However, New Zealand centre Ma'a Nonu is confident that it will be the visitors who rise to the occasion on Saturday night, believing that the likely return of Carter will prove decisive.

"We've got a lot to work on. I think there's a lot of room for improvement and we haven't really hit our straps," Nonu is quoted as saying by AAP.

"Hopefully we'll work together this weekend. With Carter coming in, hopefully we'll get up a gear."

Meanwhile, All Blacks boss Graham Henry has explained that a lack of game time was the thinking behind his decision to omit Neemia Tialata from his 26-strong squad for the trip to Australia.

The tight-head prop suffered a knee injury in the defeat by South Africa in Bloemfontein but had been expected to earn a recall after playing the full 80 minutes for Wellington B on Saturday. However, Henry believes that this weekend's game has come too soon for Tialata.

"He hadn't played for a while; he's a big man and needs to be playing. He's run out of a bit of game fitness really, that's the major reason (for his omission).

"We'll have to wait and see when he plays, how he plays. He's done the job before and there's no reason he can't do the job again, he just hasn't played a lot of football."


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