Hawker goes into bat for Deans
Robbie Deans’s greatest ally has left the building but it seems there is still plenty of support where it matters for the Wallabies coach.
The long-time ARU chief executive John O’Neill announced on Friday he would stand down at the end of the month with the move expected by most to spell trouble for Deans as popular Ewen McKenzie waits in the wings.
But a strong supporter of Deans, ARU chairman and former Wallaby Michael Hawker, jumped into the spotlight on Friday.
O’Neill was asked if it was a mistake re-signing Deans for two years before last year’s World Cup where Australia finished third.
“It was a board decision with John,” he said.
“I’d just like to put Robbie Deans’s performance in context as well. Robbie came in and we were fifth ranking in the world, we’ve gone to second in the world.
“… We’ve retained the number two position in the world. We just so happen to play the numbers one and three in the world pretty regularly.”
Hawker added that Australia are battling a huge injury toll and did well to go 1-1 with South Africa and land two wins over Argentina in the Rugby Championship as the Wallabies finished second.
“The discussion about Robbie Deans needs to be held in that (injuries) context,” he said.
O’Neill was again asked if re-signing Deans was a mistake.
“I don’t believe so,” he said.
“The board’s pretty well-equipped to do that with four former Wallabies including the chairman, John Eales, Brett Robinson and George Gregan.”
The Wallabies play a third Bledisloe Test against the All Blacks on October 20 before a four-game European tour starting next month that comprises matches against France, England, Italy and Wales.
A 3-1 return should keep Deans safe while a failed 1-3 campaign is unlikely to be tolerated.
The last time a depleted Australia squad went to Europe and won just one Test, in 2005, Eddie Jones was sacked.
For now, Deans appears to have the full support of the board.© AAP 2013
The Roar needs an editor! Tristan is off to tackle a new role with us over on Techly.com.au, which means we're looking for someone to fill his boots. Love sport, know digital publishing (yes, that does mean being a bit of computer guru) and keen to work with the team in Newcastle? If you're a proven superstar, or someone on the rise with a record to back it up, we want to hear from you. Apply now!
We're also looking for freelance writers who know tech, gadgets, games and trends inside and out to join us on this new adventure. Get in touch if you've got the goods.
The Roar is giving you the chance to win 1 of 19 prize packs to Australian Open 2014! Each lucky winner will receive four evening tickets to Rod Laver Arena, plus access to 3 hours in the Heineken VIP Bar. Enter here.