Deans wary of Grand challengers
October 15, 2009
Robbie Deans points out the difficult challenges waiting for Australia on the other side of the world © Getty Images
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is not expecting the red carpet to be rolled out for his side when they arrive in the UK for Australia's first Grand Slam attempt in 25 years - in fact he's braced for just the opposite.
Deans told ESPNScrum he is ready for a tough challenge at every turn, from England to...Gloucester.
"With players from the Home Nations sides having just been through the [British and Irish] Lions series in South Africa, they'll be much better for that," he said.
"They're all quite mature line-ups. Look at the Irish who won the Grand Slam, and the Welsh who won prior to that. Look at the English who are an experienced side and building - 29-0 over France at half time is no mean feat. I think we'll see a set of opponents who'll look to play positively."
While Deans rates the teams awaiting his as relatively well established compared to his new squad, which features seven uncapped players, he said an injection of youth has its positive effects on the camp atmosphere.
For Richard Kingi, Dave Dennis, Mitchell Chapman, Salesi Ma'afu and Rob Horne, it's their first taste of the Wallabies environment.
"It's always good to see the enthusiasm of those blokes who have been exposed to the level for the first time. They've all done well, they don't look like they're daunted at all." he said, speaking after a sharp training session in Sydney.
The fringe players in Deans' 35-man squad will be called into action in two midweek games, including a hit-out against Gloucester on their arrival in England - a game Deans is particularly looking forward to.
"To play in Gloucester - it's a great destination - is going to be a real education for the boys. Essentially you're playing an international side, it's not a club side anymore because it's full of international players. It's going to be tough, but good."
Australia kick off their tour with a meeting with New Zealand in Tokyo on October 31 before travelling to Gloucester, and onto Twickenham for the Grand Slam opener against England on November 7.
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal
Laurie Fisher talks about the Brumbies and Gloucester, and provides revealing thoughts on the player involvement during the glory days in Canberra