Incumbent Wallabies five-eighth Bernard Foley is keen to tap the vast rugby knowledge of Matt Giteau, if he finally gets the chance on Saturday to play alongside the man he admired while growing up.
Giteau recently ended a four-year absence from the Wallabies side when he played against the Springboks in Brisbane.
Foley wasn’t part of the squad for that game, but was restored to the starting lineup for the most recent Test against Argentina, which Giteau missed.
Giteau’s tally of 21 caps against New Zealand alone is more than Foley’s total 19 against all comers.
The NSW Waratahs playmaker would relish a chance this weekend to line up next to Giteau, who made his Test debut in 2002, when Foley was only 13 years old.
“I’ve watched Matt for a long time and (when I was) growing up he was the new kid on the block,” Foley said.
“He had the haircuts and the headgear, so everyone used to look up to him and he definitely was an exciting player to watch.
“I was one of those kids who tried to replicate what he’d do on the field.
“I haven’t played with him before, so to get that opportunity would be amazing if it does occur.”
Foley said he hadn’t tried to mine much information from Giteau yet, but would certainly take the opportunity if they were both selected as starters this week.
“He’s a bag of knowledge, the experience that he brings,” Foley said.
“Just the calmness and the coolness he brings to the younger heads or the guys who haven’t played in so many of these big games, is invaluable for any team.
“So we’ll be picking his brain this week or getting a bit of advice or a bit of knowledge about these All Blacks that he’s come up against for so many years.”
Saturday’s match looms as the last legendary All Blacks five-eighth Dan Carter will play in Sydney.
“He’s been probably the world class fly-half for the last decade or more, ever since I can imagine,” said Foley, who has only faced Carter at Super level.
“It’s an amazing occasion for him to come over here and have his last game (in Sydney).
“The whole team will probably lift for that and we’ll probably have to be more alert and more alarmed about his own performance.”
Foley has had just one start in four appearances against New Zealand, and has yet to enjoy a victory against the All Blacks.
He faces plenty of competition for the coveted Wallabies’ No.10 jersey, with Giteau, Quade Cooper, Matt Toomua and Kurtley Beale also in the squad.
“There’re five fly-halves that have played for the Wallabies in the past competing at every training session, so it’s really great intensity there,” Foley said.