England v Australia, Twickenham, November 17
Deans unperturbed by criticism
November 15, 2012
Robbie Deans is under pressure to turn around the Wallabies' form © Getty Images
Under-fire Wallabies coach Robbie Deans admitted that the criticism of his team was "fair" in the wake of their heavy loss to France.
Deans would not be drawn on former Australian winger David Campese's tirade, with Campese labelling Deans the "worst thing that has ever happened to Australian rugby" on Wednesday, but he conceded that his team's performance against France was a "tired effort" at a press conference on Thursday.
The Wallabies, who drew with the All Blacks in the Test before Saturday's match, were easily dispatched 33-6 in the Stade de France and they now face England at the weekend at Twickenham.
Deans is under pressure to turn around Australia's fortunes, with the battle for the top-four spot in the IRB rankings ahead of December's 2015 World Cup draw very much on the agenda. He hopes that his side bounce back on Saturday at Twickenham and, while he wants his team to right the wrongs from the loss to France, he is not bothered by the criticism levelled at his team.
"People are entitled to their opinion," Deans said. "As we've said many times before, it's part of the territory. Most importantly that was a performance (against France) we weren't proud of and we want to address it and that's where all our time and energies are going.
"It's great that David's passionate about the game still and particularly the Wallaby jersey. But I really don't want to comment any further.
"Every week there's pressure. That's what living in this arena is. As I've said many times before, it's not about me; it's about the team and helping them do what they do. That's where we're putting all our time and energy."
The Wallabies go into Saturday's match as underdogs, despite their higher place in the IRB rankings, but Deans will not give much thought to other people's perceptions of his team. He said: "There's no point, and history reaffirms this, in dwelling on underdog status or favourite status because it's irrelevant. I think that answers your question."
A distinguished former Wallaby will present the jerseys before Saturday's match, with Deans open to doing the honour again in the future. "I got Campo to do it in 2008 in Durban. And I would love to have him back by the way," he said.
"You may not believe me, but if you are winning every game or losing every game the job is not dissimilar. They are just different challenges. The priorities remain the same and that's what's important to the team."
Deans has made four changes to the side ahead of Saturday's match with England but has retained Kurtley Beale at fly-half. Beale has started just four matches in the half-back position for the Wallabies, but Deans is pleased with how the Melbourne Rebel, who has been used at fullback in the past, is coping.
"Kurtley's played the bulk of his rugby at ten," Deans said. "He's played some time at fullback and did very well and he was one of the IRB Players of the Year back in 2010. And to be fair he's a better five-eight for the time he spent at fullback.
"He's a bloke who loves to have the ball in his hands, things happen and he's prepared to take the ball to the line so people get excited in terms of working off him. He's enjoyed the responsibility and obviously we've had a fair amount of candidates in that position over the year.
"The good thing now is that we have some choice - there was a point in time when we had no five-eighths. We've now got half a dozen, albeit most of them are broken but we've got some choice and certainly when they all return to play next year we'll have some genuine choice and Kurtley's making a good fist of it."
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