Deans relishing Springbok battle
August 7, 2009
Robbie Deans says that his Wallabies are relishing their task against the Springboks © Getty Images
Robbie Deans is relishing the opportunity to put his Wallabies side up against the in-form Springboks in Cape Town on Saturday.
The Australia coach has linked up with the squad after attending the funeral of his father in New Zealand, springing a surprise by leaving veteran flanker and Waratahs skipper Phil Waugh out of the 22 in favour of an extra attacking option in wing Peter Hynes.
Waugh's omission was the only change to a squad that lost the physical battle to New Zealand in Auckland two weeks ago, their 22-16 defeat looking ominous after the Springboks thwarted the All Blacks in consecutive Tests.
Deans has maintained that his side are excited about the task ahead however.
"It's a fantastic task coming up against the top-ranked side in the world at Newlands," he said. "It's one of the best venues in the game and these blokes love these occasions. "It's an opportunity for us and the boys are in a good frame of mind. They're showing good heart.
"There's a good clarity around what we are doing and a high level of enthusiasm."
Deans is expecting a physical contest, and does not expect the World Champions to alter the gameplan that has served them so well to this point in the tournament.
"They're unlikely to veer from what they used against the All Blacks but they are capable of playing in many ways," he said. "They may pull an element of surprise out, but I doubt it very much. They've used a pretty straightforward approach and now they'll ask the question of us."
Newlands has been buffeted by rain and wind for recent fixtures, and the Springboks will be out to extend a winning run over the Wallabies at the ground that began in 1992. The fixture is their last on home soil this season, and they will want a 100% record before they face the Wallabies in Perth on August 29.
"The conditions can have an impact here in Cape Town. You can have a fair bit of wind or a serious downpour," said Deans. "So it will be all about making decisions in real time that serve the team best."
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in PIctures
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year