Australia 28-49 New Zealand, Tri-Nations, Melbourne, July 31
Henry heaps pressure on Deans
July 31, 2010
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is under increasing pressure to turn his side's fortunes around © Getty Images
New Zealand coach Graham Henry wasted little time in cranking up the pressure on his Australian counterpart Robbie Deans in the wake of the All Blacks' crushing 49-28 victory over the Wallabies in Melbourne.
The win kept Henry's side on course to reclaim the Tri-Nations crown and the Bledisloe Cup silverware can now be secured for another year with victory in the second game in Christchurch - a homecoming Deans faces with trepidation after witnessing an eighth successive loss to the team he aspired to coach after the 2007 World Cup.
Relieved after last weekend's 17-point defeat of the Springboks, scrutiny of Deans ramps up again after his side was dissected by a clinical opponent buoyed by Drew Mitchell's sending off for a second yellow card offence five minutes after half-time.
Henry understandably offered little sympathy after a combination of panache and poise produced seven tries and more pressure on his one-time rival for the All Blacks top job.
"Personally if I had eight losses in a row I'd find it very difficult to handle to be frank," Henry said. "You'd feel under a lot of heat, that's the nature of international sport I guess."
Another defeat on Deans old domain AMI Stadium and the nine match sequence between 1936-47 will be equalled. Then there are games to follow in Sydney and Hong Kong.
"It could have been worse," a glum Deans admitted. "Once we were down to 14 men and we were playing for pride there was potential there for (the scoreline) to blow out."
In related news, All Blacks scrum-half Jimmy Cowan is in serious doubt for the next weekend's clash after suffering rib cartilage damage during his side's Melbourne victory. Cowan was replaced by Piri Weepu in the 33rd minute of the first half and Henry said he was unlikely to feature when New Zealand go in search of a fourth successive victory at AMI Stadium. "He tells me he's going to be fine but I think he'll struggle to be right for next week," Henry said.
Cowan owed his start against Australia to Weepu's delayed arrival in Melbourne after he became a father for the first time last weekend.
Meanwhile, although its reputation was torn to shreds in the build-up the stadium's much maligned surface held up, although one second half scrum near the All Blacks line produced serious gouging.