Rugby Championship News

Gregan all about the here and now

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Few players will ever come close to retiring and being able to look back on such an illustrious career as Australian scrum-half George Gregan will.

With a staggering 131 Test caps to his name the wily veteran has, this week, officially been offered the captaincy of the Wallabies for the World Cup in September. But while he admitted it will be a huge “honour” to lead his country again it is the here and now where his focus lies.

For now he is happy to play second fiddle to co-captains Stirling Mortlock and Phil Waugh, the former will act as run-on captain for this Saturday’s Bledisloe Cup clash in Melbourne.

“We still have three Tri Nations games to play. We have had a really successful, what you call an experimentation, of our leadership group,” Gregan told The Herald.

“The guys have really put up their hand. And I think that has been a really big plus for the team.”

However the captaincy is the last thing on the Brumbies stalwarts mind with the prospect of facing a rampant All Black side at the forefront of his thoughts.

“If you are offered that position, it is a great honour that you never take for granted. Captaining your country is a wonderful, wonderful honour that I have always enjoyed,” he said.

“I am really supportive and positive with what has been done so far in the Tri Nations. I think we should put all our energy into that.”

There seems to be a genuine belief in the Australian camp that they can not only match the All Blacks but go one better and beat them, in what for many would be something of an upset considering they have only lost three games in the last four years.

Gregan, who found himself under some pressure last year to retain his place in the side, can relate to Julian Huxley who came in for some harsh criticism after his kicking display against the Springboks last time out.

“There were some good things and bad things from that Springbok game,” said Huxley, for whom the MCG clash is a chance to book a World Cup berth.

“I am real keen to get out there this weekend and deal with [the pressure for the entire] game, and get that consistency that you need at that level.”

With former rugby league great Andrew Johns having aided the sides kickers this week Huxley feels the kicking inadequacies he and others showed in Cape Town have been eradicated from their game, a fact that will according to Huxley aid the Wallabies chances of beating the All Blacks.

“As South Africa showed, they are very beatable. And at stages last year the Wallabies had them on toast for 60 minutes,” Huxley said of the All Blacks.

“If we can play for 80 minutes, we have every chance of beating them. That is the mind set. There is certainly no demons there. We’re going out to knock them off.

“And we know how, or we think we know how best to do that. And our training has resembled that this week. I won’t be giving away too much. But we certainly have some strategic plans.”
 
365 Digital

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