Robbie Deans resigned to fate
July 6, 2013
A dejected James O'Connor with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans after the loss © Getty Images
Robbie Deans spoke like a man who had coached his last Test for Australia after the Wallabies suffered a big-stage thrashing on Saturday night. Beaten up and dominated by the British & Irish Lions in a demoralising third Test ambush, the Wallabies are set for a new coach before The Rugby Championship commences in August.
With the Australian Rugby Union sounding out the Brumbies and Queensland to potentially release Jake White and Ewen McKenzie, respectively, Deans was forced to acknowledge his coaching future was out of his hands. "Those decisions will be made by others," the New Zealander said. "You don't presume anything in this industry and that decision is made by others, and who knows?"
Deans seemed resigned to his fate when he detached himself from the team he's led for six seasons on being asked how they would regroup from the four-tries-to-one thumping. "I've got no doubt the boys will regroup," he said. [The Rugby Championship] is a different competition and a different circumstance ... a completely different tournament. There's no doubt these blokes will respond. They're too good a side not to."
Asked if he was excited by a tough challenge ahead, he said: "I'm not excited, in terms of what I've just been through, but that doesn't change the possibilities and potential of the group. They're a better side than what they put in there tonight and that's the disappointing thing."
The Wallabies were not helped by an early head clash for flanker George Smith as well as a torn hamstring by Israel Folau, not to mention a demolition job by the Lions scrum.
Deans lamented a "horrific start" and a poor scrum display. "They used their set piece with great advantage and then fed off it," he said. "It worked for them, they were turning the scoreboard over and you saw the rest. We gave them a leg-up which really allowed them to thrive."
Wallabies captain James Horwill said he was devastated but still stood by Deans. "Robbie's the coach, he's contracted and he's the coach," he said. "He's a great coach (but) now's not the time, five minutes after a game, to talk about coaching positions."
Horwill said the loss was incredibly disappointing, especially starting "opposite" to the way they had intended. The second-rower said his pack failed to recover from the first scrum in the first minute.
"We got penalised early and then got a bit gun shy," he said. "We sat on the back foot and allowed them to dictate terms. We just weren't good enough tonight. In the end, we dug deep and we tried as hard as we could. You'd have to say the better team on the night won."
Horwill added: "It's been a big two weeks. That's what Lions tours are about, it's up there with the pinnacle of Test rugby. Ultimately it's the team that deals with the peaks and troughs best that ends up winning. They dealt with that better than we did today. You can't sugar coat it or anything like that, we weren't good enough today and they were. As I said out on the field, the better team won."
In his six seasons in charge, Deans has led the Wallabies to one Tri-Nations title, third place in the 2011 IRB World Cup, and has yet to attain Bledisloe Cup success.
It is Australia's poor 3-15 record in 18 trans-Tasman Tests against the All Blacks which had him under pressure before this year and a backlash against discipline issues may also help seal his fate.
Senior players and influential ARU figures were reportedly particularly unhappy with how star backs James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale have continued to misbehave off the field.
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