New-look backline for Aussies

Matt Giteau and Mat Rogers were the halfback pairing for the Wallabies at yesterday’s training session in Sydney.

Regular flyhalf Stephen Larkham ran at inside centre for the majority of the practice. This combination is expected to take on Wales on 4 November in Cardiff.

While the Larkham and Rogers switch seems less drastic, with the positions of a modern-day flyhalf and inside centre seen as interchangeable, Giteau’s move from 12 to 9 has caused quite a stir. At first it was mere speculation; an experiment that would take place in a comparatively easy game against Italy. But with George Gregan being rested and Sam Cordingley ruled out of the tour due to injury, the vision is set to become a reality against the Welsh.

“[Wallaby coach] John Connolly told me he is considering me there, so I just want to get in as much practice as I can if it does come that I play halfback,” said Giteau.

“I haven’t played there for a while, so it is a little bit daunting, but also exciting. The most difficult aspect will be getting used to the set-piece. Phase attack and things like that aren’t too bad, and I feel a lot more comfortable there, but it requires me to be more comfortable at the scrums and line-outs.

“I haven’t received any specific directions on how to play halfback, but have rather been instructed to play it as I see it … play with instinct.”

The Wallaby management’s decision to pair Giteau and Rogers together is also an interesting one. Giteau and Larkham have proved a successful combination in the midfield for both the Brumbies and Australia, and perhaps it would be prudent to keep these two alongside each other when Giteau moves to No 9.