There has been a great deal of uproar about Robbie Deans decision to overlook Matt Giteau in a leadership role with the Wallabies. This is one of those tough decisions, from a public perspective, that has to be made by a coach if he wants to go forward.
Giteau is incredibly popular with the public due to his natural ball skills and flair. No one denies that at times he can win you a game singlehandedly, but that does not mean that he has leadership abilities.
In fact many around the game point to his lack of leadership in the number 10 shirt as one of the reasons the Wallaby backs have looked their least threatening for many a year. He is a great individual player of that there is no doubt, but at number ten you need a leader, a communicator as well as someone with individual brilliance. Giteau has not shown that during his time with the Emirates Western Force or the Wallabies.
With Berrick Barnes handed the vice captaincy will we see Giteau shunted to number 12? It is a distinct possibility if Barnes shows the communication and leadership required. This may in fact assist Giteau in bringing out the best rugby of his career.
Robbie Deans hates to lose at anything. You ask anyone who has worked with him or for him, or even played alongside him. The ARU brought him in to restore Australian rugby to where it should be, and they must trust his calls up to the World Cup in 2011. He has seen the players at close hand and will no doubt have worked out the strengths and weaknesses in all. Now he will bed down a team that is a reflection of himself.
Being a successful coach is not a popularity contest. Sir Alex Ferguson stood up to Beckham and Ronaldo at Manchester United, both wonderful players. Deans has just done the same, and there will be a definite method to what may seem to many as madness.