Deans braced for fired-up Welsh
December 1, 2011
Shane Williams crossed for Wales during their Rugby World Cup third-place play-off defeat by the Wallabies © Getty Images
Australia coach Robbie Deans expects Wales to treat this weekend's clash at the Millennium Stadium like a cup final in light of the fact that the game will be Shane Williams' last in Test rugby.
Williams is his country's record try-scorer and Deans believes that the winger's team-mates will be desperate to ensure that the Osprey ace's stellar international career does not end on a bum note, pointing to the way in which the Wallabies rose to the occasion when lock Nathan Sharpe became a Test centurion in the Rugby World Cup Bronze Final win over Wales in October.
"We experienced ourselves how powerful the additional motivation of playing for a mate can be when 'Sharpie' had his 100th Test in Auckland (against Wales[ recently," Deans said. "There was no way any of the other players wanted to let him down.
"I have no doubts that the Welsh lads will be feeling just the same this week as we did in Auckland. Emotion plays a powerful role in competitive sport."
Deans is also aware that a number of the home side's players will be desperate to impress head coach Warren Gatland with the 2012 Six Nations looming large on the horizon.
"Warren will be looking for his group to push on from the World Cup," the former Crusaders boss said. "And this match provides him with a perfect opportunity to do just that as a springboard heading into the next Six Nations Championship."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall
John Griffiths digs into the distant past to try to establish the identity of an England international whose life is a virtual mystery