Matt Giteau made a mockery of Springboks coach Peter de Villiers’s excuse that his team was feeling flat when the Wallaby five-eighth countered that he and his colleagues were feeling as fresh as a daisy.
Greg Gowden writes for Rugbyheaven Aus that following the 27-15 loss on Saturday, de Villiers said that a reason for the Springboks’ poor performance was because “some of the players were feeling flat due to the amount of rugby they have played”.
“There’s a few guys who played each and every minute of the Super 14, and most of the Test matches, too. You can see they are a bit flat, and the decision-making is just not there,” de Villiers said.
Giteau wasn’t aware of de Villiers’s comments, but was quick to insist he was not feeling as fatigued as his Springbok counterparts – even though he had a similarly hectic season.
When asked if he had been feeling a little bit flat, Giteau replied: “No, I haven’t.
“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.”
Giteau conceded that may have something to do with a different approach at training, where the workload is shared among all the squad members – to the extent that no one really knows whether they are in the Test line-up or part of the also-rans.
Coach Robbie Deans frequently changes the combinations around, so that everyone gets their opportunity on the training paddock to impress in their favoured positions. This has also had the desired effect of turning the Wallabies’ bench into a potent game-day weapon. During the Durban Test victory, Dean Mumm, Timana Tahu and Ryan Cross all excelled from the bench.
“One of our biggest strengths is the impact our bench has been giving to the team,” Giteau said. “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.
“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.”
Back-rower George Smith echoed those sentiments, saying: “The good thing is that the guys are always prepared to come on in the first minute or the 58th minute.
“The boys are always working hard and when they do take the field make sure they make an onfield impact.”Tweet