Deans expects free-flowing All Blacks
September 14, 2009
Robbie Deans is expecting a free-flowing All Blacks side this weekend © Getty Images
Australia coach Robbie Deans is expecting a free-flowing All Blacks side in the final game of the Tri-Nations this weekend, regardless of the personnel.
Isaia Toeava has been tipped to start in the centre alongside Ma'a Nonu after impressing as a replacement in the defeat to South Africa and Deans is ready for all eventualities.
The Wallabies are well rested after a week off following their 21-6 triumph over the champion Springboks and are keen to keep their momentum going.
"It was a good contest; the Springboks were pretty impressive early and the All Blacks were impressive late, essentially," Deans said. "We saw a combination that we might see again in Nonu and Toeava, but they'll decide that and we'll respond to it. They're all players we're familiar with; obviously it functioned pretty well at the end of the game.
"They'll want to play. They probably felt like they didn't get the chance to play for the first 60 minutes. They'll want to finish this campaign on that note. It's really important for us. We did take a step essentially in our game and our collective understanding and performance. We want to push on from that point. We don't want to slide back, or some of the value we took out of that outing will dissipate."
Despite the fact that South Africa have already claimed the title and the All Blacks the Bledisloe Cup, Deans believes that the Test will be anything but a dead rubber for the players involved. The former Crusaders boss is expecting conditions at Westpac Stadium to play a part and create a hard-fought contest regardless of any attacking intent.
"It's Westpac Stadium, with the Wellington wind. We haven't seen too many open, free-flowing test matches at that arena, let alone between the Wallabies and All Blacks," he said. "People will suggest it's a dead rubber but for those that pull on the jerseys it's far from that."