Australian Rugby
Deans pleased with Wallaby development
ESPNscrum Staff
November 30, 2010
Australia flanker David Pocock watches a penalty attempt, England v Australia, Twickenham, London, England, November 13, 2010
David Pocock has won praise from Robbie Deans © Getty Images

Australia coach Robbie Deans believes that they will attack next year's Rugby World Cup from a position of strength thanks to the recent strides made by his young squad.

The Wallabies have returned home after a taxing end of year tour where they prevailed in four of five Tests, beating New Zealand, Wales and Italy before routing France 59-16 last weekend.

A 35-18 Twickenham reversal to England was coupled with a midweek loss to Irish side Munster but Deans is confident that his charges learned a great deal from a challenging itinerary.

"It was a big exercise," he said. "Seven fixtures in five weeks is an awful lot of logistics and travel but all of those challenges are good for the group. We got a lot out of it. We wanted progression and we got that.

"Playing away and winning away is a habit we're starting to get better at."

Deans was thrilled by the manner in which several inexperienced players coped with the rigours of the recent Test season, notably fullback Kurtley Beale, wing James O'Connor and flanker David Pocock.

Both Beale and Pocock have been named on the shortlist for the prestigious IRB World Player of the Year award.

"There's no doubt some of the guys who we exposed to rugby at this level for the first time [will be better for the experience]," he said. "There are three really obvious ones, two have just been nominated for IRB Player of the Year in Pocock and Beale.

"It was effectively their first full season. James O'Connor on the weekend stepped up to the goalkicking duties, but he also cleared the ball and defended with a real purpose beyond his 20 years.

"Another bloke who responded to everything that has been put on him is [Reds prop] James Slipper. I look back two years and it's just totally different circumstances now. We've got more depth in more positions."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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