News Article

Wallabies will benefit from tough year, says coach Robbie Deans

  
Printable Version Printable Version    Recommend Recommend    Email to a friend Email to a friend
  
Share   
  

5/12/2012
By Iain Payten (The Daily Telegraph)


As an All Blacks side "with one eye on the beach" licked wounds in nearby London, Robbie Deans praised the Wallabies' never-say-die character after securing a last-gasp victory over Wales in Cardiff. 

 
But at the conclusion of a season Deans rated the toughest in his coaching career, the Wallabies mentor confirmed he would use the off-season to examine why Australia's misfiring attack could only score one try per game in 2012.
 
Australia's win at the death over Wales at Millennium Stadium saw the Wallabies finish the November Tour with three wins from four Tests, and nine wins from 15 Tests for the year.
 
The Wallabies ended the year ranked third and among the top seeds for the 2015 World Cup, and any pressure building on Deans' position within the ARU boardroom is likely to have petered out.
 
Australia's victory over the Welsh was symptomatic of many Wallaby performances in 2012 -- ordinary attack and bang-on the average of one try per game, but with great spirit and resolve to claw out a win.
 
Backed in a corner after six straight losses, Wales had every motivation to win and appeared to set to do that - until the Wallabies snatched the victory at the end.
 
Deans, who will now almost certainly see out the final year of his contract, had earlier queried whether New Zealand had clocked off at Twickenham a week early, and praised his side for not doing likewise.
 
"When you look at the state of the group, the state of fatigue and the number of blokes who were playing for the first time in a while, it was always going to be edge of the seat stuff if we gave them access to the game," Deans said.
 
"For the group to find a way to win in the 80th minute against one of the best conditioned teams in the world, away, knowing that there's a holiday coming ... they could easily have turned their toes up.
 
"But it's a great trait they're developing. They just kept coming, looking for a way to win.
 
"It would have been the easiest thing for them to think, 'Oh well, we can come back next year but they didn't'. It meant more to them than that. 
 
"Obviously Sharpie's a bloke who's very close to their hearts and they didn't want it to end poorly for him
 
"It's not just the sentiment, it's actually the deeper meaning and we've seen it routinely.
 
"This group's been challenged across this year and in every instance kept going and got up for the challenge."
 
Sharpe, who retired after 116 Tests, said he had great confidence about the prospects of the Wallabies next year, with the likes of Will Genia, James O'Connor and James Horwill returning to a side who learned to win without them.
 
"If you look at the big picture, it's been a really productive year for the Wallabies," Sharpe said.
 
"I have been in Wallabies teams where we lose the close games. We have won a lot of tight games this year, and right down to the wire.
 
"Those things become a habit, and we need it to become a habit for us. It is important going into the Lions series next year."
 
Fixing the Wallabies' attack will be equally important. One try a game won't cut it against the Lions, no matter how much character you show.
 
Asked why it misfired again in Cardiff, Deans said: "We didn't finish on occasions, and there's various reasons for that.
 
"They were infringing often, which teams seem to do routinely against us. They understand how important momentum is to us."
 
Deans said he would review the attack over summer, but hopes the expanded talent base will help in 2013.
 
In an injury-hit season, Deans used 42 players in 15 Tests and blooded 14 debutants.
 
"I'm enriched from the experience I've been through this year, it's been good," Deans said.
 
"It's like going to the gym. If you lift weights, you get stronger. I've had a big season of conditioning.
 
"We had so many (challenges). So, so many, when you look at the year. There's so much change, all the dynamics and human dynamics involved with change and combinations ... we've been through the ringer and we've come out the other side much better for it."