Matt Giteau (WA): As I said above many, me included, thought he was shunted into the Wallaby 10 jersey last year as a kind of ‘last man standing’. “There’s no one else available so let’s take our best 12 and move him in a smidge”. But now! Now he is the best ten in Australia, if not the competition, possibly even the world! Mwah hahahahaha MWAHAHAHAHAHA! Ahem…sorry.
The likely candidates:
Berrick Barnes (QLD): It seems so long ago now, but following the RWC07 and his calm yet unexpected showing there, it seemed he was destined for the role, at least until Kurtley Beale fulfilled his destiny. Most of his time since, for both the Reds and Wallabies, has been spent at 12 (or out injured). Still, his rock solid defence, superior kicking and passing game see him as a legitimate option for this key spot.
Quade Cooper (QLD): A ludicrous proposition 12 months ago has become one not entirely unrealistic. Cooper has continued his surprisingly assured form from the Wallaby tour of the UK and Europe with a steadier, more mature, series of performances for the Reds. A slight form slump mid-season, where both he and his team reverted to type, has caused a minor blip, but he’s a step up from many other candidates.
Kurtley Beale (NSW): Gazumped by Quade Cooper, seemingly, into a Wallaby jersey last year, Beale has struggled to show any consistent on-field dominance this year. He’s on the bench at the moment, but there is no guarantee that this will remain the case. If he can get back in to the starting team and the Tahs make the finals, he’s a good chance of taking the next step.
James O’Connor (WA): Well he’s not playing there for the Force, obviously, playing outside the man most likely Matt Giteau. It’s obvious that Deans is a fan, and who can blame him? He’s like a mini-Giteau, which may be a concern – his size.
What is Deans looking for?
World class. To win a World Cup, and other key trophies, a team needs a world class flyhalf. Well, with a “Butch James Proviso” but I don’t think any of us can really explain that. One key criteria, and something we’ve lacked since Larkham peak days – the ability to close out a game.
Who is the answer?
Ok, this is cheating, but the obvious answer is Matt Giteau. As said above he’s clearly the best option in Australia and a legitimate option for a “World XV” spot. Of course the obvious question is once the selectors make the decision as to where they want Gits, who plays the alternative position?