Deans hoping for World Cup redemption
May 1, 2013
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is hoping for another shot at the Rugby World Cup after overcoming the Lions%]
Deans on Wednesday warned the Wallabies to brace themselves for a brutal showdown with the British and Irish Lions and said he was well aware of the personal heat on him to deliver a meaningful series win.
With Australia having lost all five Bledisloe Cup series to Deans' native New Zealand since he began his tenure and also bombing out in the 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-finals, the coach knows his future with the Wallabies hinges on a triumphant campaign against the Lions in June and July.
Ewen McKenzie and South Africa's 2007 World Cup-winning coach Jake White, whose Queensland Reds and ACT Brumbies outfits head up the Super Rugby championship at the halfway point, are in the frame to replace Deans when his contract expires at the end of the year.
Deans insists he's capable of blocking out the external pressures to focus on helping the Wallabies defeat the Lions, but acknowledges the significance of the series.
"It's very important. This is an important year for Australian rugby, no doubt," he told AAP on Wednesday.
Asked if he was still keen to coach the Wallabies at another World Cup, Deans said: "Absolutely. Finish the job, so to speak."
Deans expressed little surprise in Lions coach and fellow Kiwi Warren Gatland's selection of 15 Welsh players in the 37-man touring party.
Also the Wales national coach, Gatland admitted at his squad announcement on Tuesday that Wales' 32-3 rout of England in this year's Six Nations decider had been pivotal in the selection process.
Deans agreed the 2011 World Cup semi-finalists were deserving of their dominant representation, including 24-year-old Welsh flanker Sam Warburton earning the Lions' captaincy.
Deans said England captain Chris Robshaw was probably the unluckiest omission from a Lions squad hungry to win a series against a southern hemisphere powerhouse for the first time since 1997.
"This generation won't be too concerned about what's been before. They'll solely care about their time," Deans said. "The best insight of what this series is going to be like was that final Six Nations fixture. It was brutal and it was relentless for 80 minutes."
The Lions face the Western Force in Perth in the first match of their nine-game, seven-week tour of Australia, with the first of three Tests against Australia taking place in Brisbane on June 22.
Deans will name his final 31-man Wallabies squad for the series on June 11, after assembling a preliminary group of 25 players on May 19.