Deans: Wales tour is dry run for Lions
June 6, 2012
Robbie Deans believes that Wales will be out to impress prior to the Lions' tour of Australia © Getty Images
Australia coach Robbie Deans expects Wales to treat their forthcoming three-Test series as a dry run for next year's British & Irish Lions tour.
Deans will pit his Wallabies - beaten 9-6 in atrocious conditions by Scotland on Tuesday - against Wales in Brisbane on Saturday, with a number of the tourists likely to feature in a Lions Test selection in 12 months' time.
Wales boss Warren Gatland is the front-runner for the Lions job and while he will miss Saturday's opener due to his ongoing recovery from a heel injury, Deans believes that the players will be going all-out to impress their stricken boss.
The Wallabies must do the same after their humbling midweek loss and Deans has promised "fresh legs and a fresh mindset", although mercurial fly-half Quade Cooper will not be granted a recall due to a lack of match-fitness.
David Pocock - stand-in skipper against the Scots - is expected to be fit to face-off against Wales captain Sam Warburton after being treated for the effects of hypothermia on Tuesday.
"Wales are going to be very excited about what is coming up this month," Deans said. "It is a precursor to next year's British & Irish Lions series, they know their coach is going to be the Lions coach and that if they do well out here it will enhance their chances of selection.
"Everyone wants to go on a Lions tour, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We're not thinking that far ahead yet, merely concentrating on Saturday's first game in the series. You will see fresh legs and a fresh mindset. We need to make some progress around the elements of cohesion that were evidently lacking against Scotland.
"There are no new injury worries, and David Pocock will be fine once he's warmed up, and it wouldn't surprise me if the Welsh adapt their tactics to make the most of us having played two games in a week.
"They know us pretty well, having played us twice in our last three games, and they will be ready. They have had time together and, having just come out of a season, they are conditioned to the game and they will have had a month's preparation as well."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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