Deans excited by Rugby World Cup prospects
December 1, 2009
Robbie Deans celebrates the win over Wales with captain Rocky Elsom © Getty Images
Wales 12 - 33 Australia Cardiff Blues 3 - 31 Australia Scotland 9 - 8 Australia Ireland 20 - 20 Australia England 9 - 18 Australia Gloucester Rugby 5 - 36 Australia Australia 19 - 32 New Zealand
Australia coach Robbie Deans was eager to highlight the positives as the Wallabies arrived home from a mixed November tour on Tuesday.
Australia won two Tests of their attempted Grand Slam tour - plus two mid-week games against club opposition - but Deans felt the biggest success was the emergence of young players who can form the "foundation" of a team capable of competing for the World Cup in 2011.
The normally cagey Deans was for once happy to name names of players who form the "exciting future" he envisages, those including dynamic backs Will Genia, Quade Cooper and Digby Ioane, impressive props Ben Alexander and Benn Robinson and emerging lock Dean Mumm.
"I think we've shown that (Australia is competitive) through this year. We've just got to add consistency which comes with experience and obviously when you look at the profile of the group it's a remarkably young group and they are learning in the toughest arena," Deans told reporters at Sydney airport.
The New Zealand-born Deans said one of the tour's most pleasing aspects was "the emergence of some blokes off very little background, who are going to be genuine Test players and are going to serve Australia well for a long period of time."
"It is evident that this group has a really exciting future. It would be great to be part of that, because I think it is a very exciting group," Deans said.
Asked if Australia could win the World Cup if it was held tomorrow, Deans said they would be in with "a shot", but the coach will be glad to have another year to hone his squad and build his talented freshmen into hardened campaigners.
"It is evident that this group has a really exciting future. It would be great to be part of that, because I think it is a very exciting group," Deans said. "They are great to work with, They have been fantastic on and off the field."
Robinson and fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper hailed the tour's galvanising effect on the squad, which has been under fire from sections of the Australian media.
Ashley-Cooper said: "This tour was a lot more enjoyable than the Tri-Nations series, and we are definitely a lot tighter as a group. I can't wait for 2010."