The Wallabies coaching staff may experiment with centre Matt Giteau in the 11 November Test against Italy, starting him at scrumhalf.
Talk has been rife throughout the year of Giteau’s potential at halfback, and how his distribution skills may be better served closer to the base of the ruck or scrum. With only two specialist No 9s in Brett Sheehan and Sam Cordingley selected for the tour, Giteau has been named as the official cover, and may actually start in Rome against the Italians.
The Waratahs’ Brett Sheehan is tipped to start in the initial midweek game against the Ospreys on 1 November, with the Reds’ Sam Cordingley, the favourite to play in the position for the majority of the tour, starting against Wales three days later.
If Wallaby coach John Connolly proceeds with this experiment against Italy, acting captain Stirling Mortlock may be partnered by Lote Tuqiri. This will also give the Australians an opportunity to explore other options in the midfield.
George Gregan is expected to finish his international career at next year’s World Cup, and so the selectors are understandably pressing on to find a worthy successor to fill the void. Flyhalf Stephen Larkham is another who is likely to call it quits after the tournament, and many believe that this is a better course of succession for Giteau than that of scrumhalf.