Wallaby play-maker Matt Giteau has lauded the efforts of his team’s bench in winning them tight matches.
Robbie Deans has astutely used his substitutes throughout the Tri-Nations, replacing his players with purpose and an intended plan. The result has been thorough performances for the full 80 minutes, which is crucial under the ELVs as fatigue kicks in.
Giteau noted how training is done with this intent in mind. “One of our biggest strengths is the impact our bench has been giving to the team – we’ve got a squad of 30. The whole squad trains and everyone gets an opportunity to train in their position. And everyone gets equal time in their positions,” Giteau told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I think that certainly has a positive effect when the interchange players come on. They feel comfortable in their roles. They just go out and want to play good football, and that’s what they’ve been doing.
“Previously in a lot of teams, you’d probably focus on the starting XV, making sure they get enough time in their positions. But now everyone is getting that equal time and equal opportunity, and that is certainly paying dividends for us,” said Giteau.
This fresh approach to training has left the players rejuvenated in the middle of a long season. This is in contrast to Bok coach Peter De Villiers’s comments where he blamed the team’s results on them being “flat”. Deans is obviously getting the best out of his players and Giteau says he is not feeling the effects of a lengthy season.
“You can’t speak for the opposition, but where we’re at, we’re all feeling fresh. It is a tough and intense competition. But I think we’ve got the balance right, and the guys do feel fresh. They are looking forward to training, and looking forward to games. I haven’t experienced that flatness.”
Meanwhile, Deans has delayed the naming of his team as he awaits the outcome of Rocky Elsom’s appeal against a one-week ban. The Australian team will be announced at four this afternoon.