Richie McCaw side-swipes Robbie Deans
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New Zealand All Blacks captain Richie McCaw. AFP PHOTO / Marty Melville
Richie McCaw didn’t do Wallaby coach Robbie Deans any favours yesterday when the All Black skipper launched his autobiography, The Open Side.
Deans coached McCaw at the Crusaders during his record setting five Super titles from seven finals.
McCaw described Deans as intransigent, and not able to delegate.
“Robbie doesn’t appear to want to be challenged by his assistants and won’t allow the kind of full-on debate that Ted (Sir Graham Henry) encouraged with (Wayne) Smith and (Steve) Hansen.
“Robbie’s approach is to say – “This is what we are doing” – then convince people that’s the way it’s got to be.
“He’s very good at it.
“When you look at the record of Robbie’s assistant coaches, there’s quite a lot of turnover and fallout,
“Robbie’s intransigence and relunctance to delegate might have been a factor, and it’s tempting to draw the conclusion that if Robbie has a strong assistant coach, the assistant won’t last long.
“And if he gets one that lasts, he’s not that strong”.
McCaw didn’t miss, which begs the question why was he so savage?
Is he shoring up Steve Hansen’s job as the new All Blacks coach after Sir Graham in case Deans stands against Hansen in the future?
Or was there some long-lingering bitterness between McCaw and Deans that was never evident when they were conquering the Super scene in tandem?
Time will answer those questions.
But for the moment, Deans needs McCaw’s spray like a hole in the head, especially as Deans would be feeling understandibly bouyant after his men-in-gold defied the odds to beat the Pumas 25-19 in Rosario last Sunday to finish second on the Rugby Championship table, and regain their world number two ranking from the Boks.
That was a big night for the Wallabies, and none more so than Deans, who has suffered many sleepless nights over the huge injury toll this season that has seen 38 Wallabies in action in just 10 Tests.
He is effectively down to the third tier of selection possibilities. And depth isn’t one of Australian rugby’s strengths.
But McCaw has given ammunition to the mounting number of rugby fans who want Deans sacked. I repeat, I’m not one of them.
Many of the knockers stretch back to day one in 2008 because he’s a Kiwi, and it wouldn’t matter how well Deans did, those knockers would still be baying for his blood.
The next assignment will be the toughest of the four internationals remaining to see out 2012 – the All Blacks on the 20th at Suncorp.
That Test, and the three against England, Wales, and France on the spring tour, will decide Deans’ fate for the British and Irish Lions tour next year – the last of his current contract with the ARU.
I’m predicting Robbie Deans will still be at the Wallaby coaching helm to do battle against compatriot Warren Gatland who will be coaching the Lions.
No matter what Richie McCaw thinks.