Tens intensity rivals trials

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

If Robbie Deans was still a Super Rugby coach, he reckons the Tens would be the perfect lead-up tournament for his players.

Deans coached the Crusaders to seven Super Rugby titles and said the format worked well as a preparation for the season, though the Wild Knights came into the Tens after the completion of their season.

“If I was still a Super Rugby coach, obviously this is ideal prep because it's fast, you get lots of touches, you get your shoulders on, it's not quite as congested as XVs,” he said.

“It's a great lead in, great step in and it takes players out of their comfort zone, which is good for them.”

The Panasonic Wild Knights left their mark on the Tens. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyFormer Wallabies inside back Berrick Barnes said he was surprised how much intensity the teams played with finals spots at stake.

“The best element about it is people genuinely cared out there, the Crusaders cared, they wanted to win, they were filthy with a few calls and there's a genuine competitiveness out there. I don't know if you get that in preseason trials,” he said.

“You run through your combos but out there people want to win, it's getting to the pointy end now and I think it's great to have competition and great for the spectators to pay good money, turn up and see something decent, so well done to the organisers.”

The Wild Knights bowed out of the competition in the quarter-finals, losing to the Crusaders in their first knockout match.

“Proud of the effort, proud of the performance over the two days, if you've got to lose to anyone, happy for it to be the Crusaders,” - Robbie Deans

“They've raised a few eyebrows and there's always a lot of eyeballs watching players play,” he said.

Berrick Barnes backed the Tens concept. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley“There's no doubt there'll be a bit of interest in these blokes as a result of this but better still there's a lot more interest in the game in Japan, it was on J Sports, so people would've been very interested and obviously for Panasonic that's fantastic.

“If we've done something for the game back home that's good.

“I think if we've done anything we showed that if anyone wasn't convinced previously that Japanese rugby is more than competitive.”