Deans expecting All Black backlash
June 25, 2009
Robbie Deans isn't expecting an easy ride against the injury ravaged All Blacks © Getty Images
Australia boss Robbie Deans believes that his side will be hurled "in at the deep end" when they kick off their Tri-Nations campaign against the All Blacks in Auckland on July 18. The Bledisloe Cup showdown will usher in a testing series for both sides, with South Africa also looking in ominous form after their series victory over the British & Irish Lions.
With critics in New Zealand currently hounding the All Blacks following stuttering performances against France and in their 27-6 win over Italy in Christchurch on Saturday many would forgive the Wallabies for expecting an easier ride than usual at Eden Park. Former All Black Deans doesn't buy it however.
"Clearly there's not a lot in it and the maths would support that as well," Deans said. "We go in the deep end there, so to speak, but that will be a good focal point for us. We came up well short there last year and I would envisage the All Blacks will present themselves in exactly the same way."
The All Blacks are currently struggling with one of their most damaging runs of injuries, skipper Richie McCaw joining fly-half Dan Carter, wing Sitiveni Sivivatu, hooker Andrew Hore and lock Ali Williams on the treatment table.
"We've seen that in the past, it doesn't change the challenge at all. It's disappointing to be honest, it would be great to be able to play the All Blacks with those blokes there. Players love to play the best," Deans said. "Richie will return soon I'd imagine. And I'm sure we'll see Dan before the Tri-Nations is out as well. It'd be great for the rugby public."
Deans will name his Tri-Nations squad on Thursday, and will do so with the commendations of France coach Marc Lievremont ringing in his ears. The Wallabies ensured the perfect build-up to the Tri-Nations with a 22-6 win over France in Sydney on Saturday, only two weeks after the French had defeated the All Blacks 27-22 in Dunedin.
"They were probably better organised than New Zealand, they don't make any mistakes," Lievremont said. "They had a better start and maybe what we did wrong during the last two games was OK for that, but in this game we paid cash. A very good Australian team showed us maybe a real level."
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton