Australian Rugby
Deans' job is safe - O'Neill
June 28, 2010
Wallabies captain Rocky Elsom and coach Robbie Deans pose with the Bledisloe Cup, Australia press conference, Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Australia, June 28, 2010
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and captain Rocky Elsom pose with the Bledisloe Cup on the eve of their Tri-Nations campaign © Getty Images

Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill has handed Wallabies coach Robbie Deans a vote of confidence on the eve of this year's Tri-Nations.

The Wallabies' opening four Tests of the season provided more questions than answers with a loss to England in Sydney the low point of a disappointing campaign. And although Deans faces a review of his side's latest performances this week, O'Neill insists the New Zealander's coaching future is not on the agenda.

"It's a regular meeting, it's been in the diary since January," said O'Neill ahead of the meeting that will also include ARU high performance manager David Nucifora. "Robbie and I talk four or five times a week so there's nothing remotely resembling a crisis meeting tomorrow.

"It's a mini review, we've had four Tests (and we need to discuss) how are we travelling, what's good, what's not so good, what do we need to improve and what's the status report on injuries? No one should read anything into tomorrow's meeting rather than a regular and timely review of how we're travelling.

"It'd be fair to say that the inconsistency issue is something that worries us. We've got to be capable of putting teams to the sword and that's not quite there yet. Mind you, when I list the players who are injured, they are pretty valuable and extremely valuable parts of the team."

O'Neill, however, admits the current Wallabies lack the aggression of the great teams of the past. "It's all part of consistency," he said. "Whether it's mongrel or whether it's (about being) very uncompromising, it's all part of winning teams. If you look across the ages the really champion teams are uncompromising and sometimes they're not just satisfied with winning, they put you to the sword.

"I mean we've got a lot of young blokes and the Test match arena is new to them, but if you look at some of the great Australian, All Blacks and Springboks teams, they have some very hard men in their teams and everyone knows they're hard. We're not talking about bring back the biff or anything like that but it's a combination of all of the above and it's (about) being uncompromising and being consistently uncompromising."

But while he concedes the Wallabies must lift significantly if they hope to seriously trouble South Africa and New Zealand, O'Neill insists he is still a believer heading to the upcoming Tri-Nations tournament. "We're in this for the long haul and we're starting to turn things around," he said. "Super rugby was a lot better and the expectation is that 2010 should be a very good year for us, and I haven't changed that assessment.

"I think we'll do very well in the Tri-Nations. They've (South Africa and New Zealand) looked very good and they are very formidable opponents - they don't get any harder - but that's the nature of the world in which we live and let's get out there and beat them."


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