MIDFIELD GENERAL: The Redmen?s five-eighth Jon Chevalley in the thick of the action.
MIDFIELD GENERAL: The Redmen?s five-eighth Jon Chevalley in the thick of the action.

Feisty students worry Redmen


Grafton Redmen

THE North Coast's big wet has forced a change in venue for Grafton Redmens' clash with University, with the match now set down for Rugby Park at South Grafton instead of Lismore.

The week's weather problems has meant a disrupted preparation for both sides and resulted in just the first grade game being played.

The match is a vital one for both sides, Grafton lying in fifth position, but just three competition points, or slightly less than a win, ahead of the fifth placed students.

Despite the weather, the Grafton field has held up very well and shouldn't unduly influence the result.

Grafton remain relatively unchanged from the side that had a hard-fought win over Wollongbar at Wollongbar last week.

The pack is the same, but there are two changes in the backs, with Scott Lloyd coming in at outside centre and Brett Graham, returning to the run on first grade side, following injury, on the wing.

Conventional theory suggests that the students will struggle against the big Grafton pack, especially on a slow track.

However, Grafton will need to be careful in assuming that to be the case as University have been highly effective all season in the tight, and as usu- al, very dangerous in the loose.

Their ability to force turnovers and then send it wide to stretch a broken defensive line is second to none in the competition and the new boys in the backline, Lloyd and Graham will have to be alert all day in defence.

The Redmen will obviously look to dominate in the set pieces and take control of field position.

If they can do this, their forward drive and inside backs should be able to seal the result.

Giteau challenge to Horan

BRISBANE ? Matt Giteau has added a lethal attacking dimension to the Wallabies backline that has prompted predictions he will challenge Tim Horan as Australia's best-ever No.12.

Inside centre Giteau enters tonight's Wallabies Test against France in line to notch a rare hat-trick of man-of-the-match awards after blazing displays against Samoa and Italy.

The 22-year-old livewire's form is no surprise to Australian coach Eddie Jones who says the Canberra product hasn't gone close to reaching his potential.

But it has convinced his former Brumbies coach David Nucifora, now in charge of the Auckland Blues, Giteau can become the best-ever No.12 in Wallabies history.

Nucifora, who played with Horan for Queensland and Australia, said the talent of the youngster nicknamed 'Kid Dynamite' was on par with the two-time World Cup-winning, 80-Test great.

"I think Gits has the ability to be as good or develop even better than Timmy and that's quite hard to imagine," he told AAP from Auckland.

"He's the closest thing I've seen to Tim Horan over the years, there's no shadow of a doubt."

Nucifora rated Giteau a once-in-a-generation player.

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