An extravagant swan dive may have stung even more than the rebuke it prompted from coach Michael Cheika, but Wallabies veteran Matt Giteau has declared himself injury-free heading into Saturday’s World Cup showdown with Wales.
Giteau was in a world of pain late in the 33-13 victory when he was blindsided with a rib-tickler from England five-eighth Owen Farrell, who was given a yellow card for the cheap shot.
The inside centre looked to have made a quick recovery when he scored an 80th minute try to round out the victory and celebrated with his trademark swan dive.
But the 33-year-old admitted the landing wasn’t exactly a perfect 10, and certainly wasn’t his way of proving his fitness to the coaches.
“It wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done,” Giteau laughed, having proved his fitness for the clash on Saturday (Sunday morning AEDT).
“It did hurt a bit. But I got caught up in the moment.
“The first thing Cheika said (after the match was) it wasn’t really smart.
“I think for me personally (the match) was pretty tough – that last 10 minutes hit me pretty square.”
Giteau said despite nursing sore ribs in the immediate aftermath of the England match, he never considered sitting out the Wallabies’ final pool match, which will decide the winner of Pool A and determine who gets to avoid a quarter-final showdown with a resurgent Springboks outfit.
The same cannot be said for gun fullback Israel Folau, who earlier this week was considered almost no chance of running onto Twickenham against Wales.
Giteau admits it was “touch and go” before his teammate’s Thursday fitness test.
The fact both have fought hard to take their place in Cheika’s starting lineup gives some indication of how seriously the Wallabies are taking this game.
“Absolutely not,” Giteau insisted when asked if he considered sitting out the Wales match to ensure he was fully fit for the finals.
“I always felt fit enough to play. I think (Folau) was the other way – he was more touch and go.
“This game is serious for us. The competition is huge. There’s no games you want to miss.
“You want to build momentum, continue to get better as a team and continue to build that momentum going through to the finals.”