Gatland defends Giteau

Wales boss Gatland backs Giteau to bounce back

By Nicola Bamford.   Last Updated: 25/11/09 12:59pm

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Giteau: Can bounce back

Giteau: Can bounce back

Sky Bet

Australia's Matt Giteau has been backed to make a rapid recovery from his Murrayfield agony.

The 27-year-old's poor kicking display against Scotland included a missed conversion during the game's final nerve-wracking seconds.

The mistake meant the Wallabies suffered a 9-8 defeat; their first loss to Scotland since 1982 and proved the low point of their current European tour.

However, Wales coach Warren Gatland - whose team are next up for Giteau and the Aussies at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday - does not expect a repeat from the fly-half.

"Matt Giteau is a real competitor," he insisted, "Champion players don't tend to back up with poor performances twice in a row, and we are all expecting Matt to play really well on Saturday.

"Knowing the Australian attitude - it doesn't matter whether it is rugby union, cricket, rugby league, whatever - when their backs are to the wall, they tend to respond.

"We expect them to play with a lot of passion. It doesn't matter what sport you play against Australia - if you chalk up a victory, it means a lot."

Welsh squad

Gatland has made a solitary change to his own squad from the team that beat Argentina 33-16 last weekend, recalling Sale Sharks scrum-half Dwayne Peel in place of Gareth Cooper.

Gatland's selection means that nine players will have started all four of Wales' autumn Tests. There are also nine survivors from the starting line-up that accounted for Australia 21-18 a year ago, and the bookmakers have installed Wales as favourites this time around.

But Gatland is refusing to read too much into the dramatic events of Edinburgh four days ago.

"It was a great win for Scotland, and you have got to congratulate them, but if that game was played 99 times out of 100 and Australia took their chances, they would have won.

"My experience of Australian teams in the past is when they are in this situation and have taken a bit of criticism, there is normally only one way they come out - with all guns blazing.

"The test for us is to continue with our progression on Saturday, and be smart in the way we play."

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