Deans: England our toughest test
November 13, 2010
Robbie Deans is asking the Wallabies to step up another gear © Getty Images
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has asked his fast-improving young squad to set themselves a new benchmark when they take on England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Australia's current tour represents a shift in gears for Deans, who has previously played down the importance of results as he focused on introducing fresh faces to his squads and building a youthful team with a free-flowing style of rugby.
With less than a year until the World Cup in New Zealand, Deans is now demanding performances and victories rather than mere improvement from his team, and the Wallabies responded with victories over the All Blacks in Hong Kong and Wales last week.
Deans isn't content to rest on his laurels, though, and he has warned his charges the Twickenham examination will be the sternest they have faced on their current sojourn.
''What England will throw at us will be greater than anything we have experienced the last couple of weeks,'' Deans said in the Sydney Morning Herald. ''What we bring to the game will out of necessity have to be superior to anything we have brought so far.
''I've got no doubt it will be our best performance. It's the third one on the road. We're getting into our work now, and haven't had to fly across the globe this week ... so we will be better for that. But we'll have to be because England will be better than last week.
''They are different opponents to the All Blacks and the Welsh. Set pieces will be important. And we had a great reminder last weekend of the importance of doing the first task first through scrummaging, before you start looking for other things.''
The spotlight has been on the contrasting styles of the touring Tri-Nations sides, particularly Australia and New Zealand, and those of the more set-piece focused, less expansive home nations. Deans is hoping Australia can impose their brand of rugby at England's home of rugby.
''We hope to have the ball so that we can really ask some questions of England,'' Deans said. ''Our last two matches against them were totally different games, and the second time [in Sydney] they were able to stymie our ability to play. Due to that, and because of what they saw at Millennium Stadium, they will make it very difficult for us to succeed with our expansive game. How they go about that this time around will be interesting.
''You can't succeed with one-dimensional play at the top level any more. No side can. You may come in with an idea in mind, but if you've been second-guessed, it's foolhardy to persevere with something which is not working. Sure, we'd love to play expansively and pull out some elements that may not have been thrown at England often, but it is a Test match so we have to be prudent.''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time
As Ewen McKenzie exits stage left, the ARU remains under huge pressure, with CEO Bill Pulver feeling the brunt of Australian rugby's displeasure, Greg Growden writes
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup
Following Saturday's shock announcement, we look at the highs and the lows of Ewen McKenzie's brief stint as Wallabies coach.