Panasonic success should be no surprise: Deans

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Underestimate Panasonic at your peril.

That was the message from Wild Knights coach Robbie Deans after two wins from their opening two games against the Rebels and the Waratahs.

The Japanese Top League powerweights emerged as a dark horse at Suncorp Stadium, but Deans said it was proof that Japanese rugby was just as good as anywhere else.

“Well, we shouldn't have been (underestimated) but we don't really know what was going through the mind of the opposition,” - Robbie Deans

“I think we genuinely earned both outcomes, which is great.

“The boys scrambled effectively and that's probably the greatest indicator in this game of what it means to you.”

Panasonic had two Brisbane products returning with a point to prove at the Tens, with Berrick Barnes and Daniel Heenan running out on their home turf.

Heenan, who has been in Japan for more than a decade, said the Wild Knights’ success so far put egg on the faces of Japanese competition critics.

“A lot of people forget about the players who go to Japan,” he said.

“I think they don't know the standard, (others are) sort of oblivious but it's good to come back and show that you've been playing at a competitive level.

“We're playing against All Blacks and wallabies and Springboks over in Japan, week in, week out.

“The Japanese guys, as you see out there today, they can play at a high level and they're competitive.

Panasonic have made it through day one undefeated. Photo: Walmsley“It's just good to come over here and showcase that and prove to you guys that it is a good tournament and the boys aren't going over there for a rest.”

Deans said he would expect to see more All Blacks line up in the Tens in future years, after almost all the Test players were ruled out of the tournament due to a mandatory 12-week off-season break.

“Obviously they've got a Lions series coming and they're probably feeling a little bit precious right now but the tournament's been a success regardless,” he said.

“Other players emerge and that's the nature of the game.

“One misses out, someone else fills that void and you're seeing some players emerge here, it's great.”

The Wild Knights take on the Chiefs in their final pool match of the tens, at 10:27am AEST on Sunday.

Keep up with all the Brisbane Tens action on our live blog.