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Giteau: England are contenders

Matt Giteau returns to Twickenham on Saturday hoping to avoid any more surprises like the one which saw England destroy his Australian side two weeks ago.

The Aussie fly-half will captain the Barbarians in the MasterCard Trophy match against South Africa, but admits he is still smarting from the 35-18 loss against Martin Johnson's men, a victory which he believes puts England "right up there" with the sides capable of winning the World Cup in New Zealand next year.

Giteau said: "They outplayed us. We weren't ready for the style of football that they played. That caught us off guard. It was one of those days. Hopefully next time we will be better prepared."

Following that result Giteau was dropped for the first time in five years for Australia's match against Italy.

It has not dented his ambitions of leading Australia to the World Cup in 10 months' time, although he believes that tournament is wide open.

"You've got to put England right up there," Giteau added. "It would be stupid for us not to think they have a huge chance after the way they played against us.

"You could pick five or six sides and if they won the World Cup you wouldn't be too shocked. New Zealand are the benchmark and ahead of everyone and Australia are firing for that number two spot at the moment.

"To win the World Cup is the ultimate goal. That's my focus."


From Belfast Telegraph