Giteau : Australia won’t underestimate Argentina

Matt Giteau has been included in the Wallabies Rugby Championship squad

Australia might have been lucky to have beaten Scotland last weekend but their last minute victory in the Rugby World Cup quarter final has ensured that they will not be taking World Cup semi-final opponents Argentina lightly.

Australia’s Wallabies qualified for the Rugby World Cup Semi-final by beating Scotland 35-34 at Twickenham having trailed by two points with two minutes remaining.

The result was controversial as Australia were awarded a penalty by referee Craig Joubert which World Rugby have since come out and said that it should not have been awarded.

Australia were expected to easily beat Scotland in their quarter final and could have been guilty of going into the match a little overconfident but that will not happen this week especially since this time last year Argentina beat Australia.

“You can’t underestimate them, you do so at your peril and we won’t,” said the 33-year-old centre who was named man of the match on his 100th Test appearance in last Sunday.

Giteau said the Pumas’ confidence had been bolstered by their crushing of Ireland last Sunday and that makes them especially dangerous.

“Every World Cup, they’re very good,” Giteau told a team press conference.

“Argentina are playing with a lot of confidence. They are throwing the ball around, their back three are explosive and overall when this side is playing with confidence they are very dangerous.”

Giteau, who is enjoying a new lease of Wallaby life after the ARU relaxed the rules on selecting foreign-based players, said the Pumas are a very different proposition to the side he had played against in the 2003 World Cup.

“12 years gee … its been that long!” he said.

“They’re as always very passionate and skillful but since that time they’ve added a lot to their game.

“Their explosiveness at the back is different and if you allow them to go wide they will burn you. That shows how far they’ve come.”

Giteau, the one remaining player from the 2003 team beaten by England in the dying seconds of extra-time in the final on home turf, has a particular regard for Argentina great Juan Martin Hernandez, who he played with at Toulon and who will oppose him in the centres on Sunday.

“He’s a beautiful man. I always told him that when he was at Toulon,” said Giteau.

“He’s very skillful, he’s tough, defensively strong and adds a lot of stability to that team.

“I know what it’s like to play with him, especially in big games. He is a very, very good player, very confident in what he does and the things he can do a lot of other players can’t. I really respect him.

“I think four to five years ago he was the best player in world and could do anything.”

“Obviously time has moved on so physically he is not the same but he presents a huge challenge for me.

“That won’t just be at the beginning of the game but during the whole match.”

Wallaby flanker Scott Fardy — the workhorse of the backrow while Michael Hooper and David Pocock have stolen the headlines — said he hoped Pocock would be back after recovering from a calf injury.

“They have a great back row as they showed in beating the Springboks in the Rugby Championship this year, and they are going to be a real handful for us,” said the 31-year-old, who has been a latecomer to Test matchs having only four years ago plied his trade in the second tier of Japanese rugby.

Giteau believes the tight battle they had with the Scots — Craig Joubert’s mistaken award of a last minute penalty gave them their lifeline to the semi-final — will serve them well should a similar situation arise on Sunday.

“We showed a lot of character at the end,” said Giteau.

“It’s a good experience that will benefit us.

“We can take alot form how we regrouped after going behind so late on (a converted try by the Scots) and how calm and clear-headed we were in driving our way down into their territory and we can take a lot of confidence from that.”

1 Comment

  1. zen911

    24th October 2015 at 1:27 pm

    “…said the 31-year-old, who has been a latecomer to Test matchs having only four years ago plied his trade in the second tier of Japanese rugby.” oh! latecomer really?

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