Gatland or Deans: who will preach the more positive rugby?
Robbie Deans could be gone from the Wallabies at the end of the 2012 Rugby Championship (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
The heavily-built 48-year-old Kiwi fell 3m off a ladder last April and broke both heels. He missed the Suncorp Test last Saturday, won 27-19 by the Wallabies.
But Gatland has arrived in Melbourne, and don’t believe for one moment stop-gap coach Rob Howley will be calling the shots tomorrow night.
Gatland is not only a world class coach, but a motivator of the highest order.
For starters, class pivots Mike Phillips and Rhys Priestland won’t be as quiet tomorrow night, even though they are up against the world’s best half-back Will Genia and the more at home Berrick Barnes.
Wales’ two express wingers George North and Alex Cuthbert won’t be passive either.
Gatland will play expansive rugby to utilise their talents, stretching the Wallaby defence.
The first Test was a good contest. This promises to be even better if Robbie Deans unleashes his Wallaby backline as well.
Make boring pick-and-go and ill-placed clearance kicking subsidiaries to running rugby.
Digby Ioane is rightfully rated among the world’s best wingers. But he would die of pneumonia if he waited for regulation back play to come his way.
He’s wasted out there, and has to go seeking possession wherever he can find it.
Newcomer Cooper Vuna on the other wing as well. The league convert is mighty quick, but at Suncorp on debut it was more chasing clearing kicks than ball-in-hand. Another waste.
So it all boils down to Gatland vs Deans.
Gatland with two Grand Slams – 2008 and 2012 – and a World Cup semi since February 2008. Deans with one Tri-Nations last season, and a World Cup semi since June 2008.
Gatland’s coached 56 internationals for Wales with 30 wins – 54%. His away record 10 wins from 20 – 50%.
Deans 58 Wallaby internationals for 34 wins – 57%. His home record 16 wins from 24 – 67%.
Not much between the two coaches, so the result could rest with two of the best no 7′s in world rugby – David Pocock, and Sam Warburton.
Who just happen to be the two captains.
On that basis, expect a Wallaby win with Pocock in superb form, always leading by example.
But not without one helluva contest, now Warren Gatland is back on duty.
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