Deans says Wallabies in the deep end
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says starting well in the inaugural Rugby Championship is a big priority as he contemplates back-to-back games against the world champion All Blacks.
Australia host New Zealand in Sydney on August 18 on the opening weekend of the four-team tournament and face the All Blacks again in Auckland seven days later.
Should they lose both games, not only would the Wallabies’ decade-long Bledisloe Cup drought be extended but their quest for the Rugby Championship crown would be on life support.
The Wallabies enter the tournament as the last Tri-Nations champions, but remain ranked second in the world behind the All Blacks.
Deans was adamant New Zealand’s World Cup win last year would not be an excuse for Australia to settle for second spot.
“There’s no wriggle room. You enter every game to win it,” said Deans on Monday at the announcement of his first train-on squad for the Championship.
“We’re starting in the deep end and two fixtures back to back against the All Blacks.
“That’s going to be a big priority for us, starting well.
“There’s no such thing as an average All Blacks side, they always put out a good team.”
Deans said the June Tests gave a good indication of what to expect from the 2012 All Blacks under new coach Steve Hansen.
Ireland went desperately close to securing a first ever win over the All Blacks in their second Test but copped a belting as the Kiwis responded in the third match and swept their three-Test series.
“The Irish got close to them and had a great opportunity in the third outing to show how close they were, or possibly get a result, and they got the message that the All Blacks not only consider themselves to be No.1 but are No.1,” said Deans.
Deans’s 27-man train-on squad comprises players from all Australian Super Rugby franchises except the Queensland Reds who are involved in the finals series beginning this week.
It includes 13 players from the disappointing NSW Waratahs who lost their last eight games and finished 11th, including Test wingers Drew Mitchell and Lachie Turner, both of whom missed a big chunk of the Super Rugby campaign through injury.
Uncapped players named included Western Force winger Nick Cummins, Melbourne Rebels centre Mitch Inman and Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan.
“It’s about how we can bring our playing group together and fit them to roles that suit them,” Deans said.
Force lock Nathan Sharpe, who deferred his retirement form international rugby to play in the Championship, was rested from the train-on squad’s July 24-26 training camp.
Among the injured players not considered were star back James O’Connor who Deans expected to miss the first two Tests.© AAP 2013
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