O'Neill: Pressure is on Deans
August 2, 2010
Robbie Deans is under increasing pressure to beat his native New Zealand © Getty Images
ARU boss John O'Neill has poured the pressure on Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, admitting the "dogs will be barking" if Australia fail to turn around the form which saw them lose their eighth straight match to New Zealand.
O'Neill last week indicated Deans would be the man to lead the Wallabies to next year's World Cup regardless of results between now and then and he continued to support Deans' position after the All Blacks cruised to a 49-28 victory in Melbourne on Saturday, but he found it hard to hide his frustration at the lack of progress being made.
"If you're coaching the national team, there's an expectation that beating the All Blacks on a regular basis is a key performance indicator," O'Neill told the ABC's Offsiders program.
"The pressure will be on. But the pressure is on all of us, the board, me, Robbie, the team. We still believe he's the right person for that job to take us through to the World Cup. But I think the dogs will be barking a bit and we just have to respond next Saturday.
"What worries us today is that we appear to be further away than what we were say a year ago. In any team sport you have to ask yourself 'do you have the cattle'. We believe we do but it's time they to start delivering week in, week out."
Australia's cause wasn't helped by the sending off of wing Drew Mitchell, not to mention the loss of suspended star fly-half Quade Cooper, but it's hard to imagine a different result such was the All Blacks' all-round dominance.
Mitchell saw red early in the second half for a second yellow card given by referee Craig Joubert when he slowed down the play by knocking the ball out of hands. The Wallabies had been warned for that type of indiscretion but Mitchell missed the message because he was in the sin-bin for a shoulder charge. O'Neill said the decision to make the Wallabies play with 14 men for so long based on a relatively minor offence was too harsh in the context of a Bledisloe Cup test.
"You've lost one man because a player throws a ball away," O'Neill said. "It's not like he punched someone or did a dangerous tackle. But you've got to live with it."
Australian commentator Greg Clark said fans and media had been "sucked in" by the Wallabies camp, who once again promised much and talked up their chances of matching the All Blacks but delivered little.
"It [the loss] was an embarrassment quite frankly," he told Fox Sports News. "We were sucked in again. We were told by the Wallabies it's now that we're going to string two wins together. We had a wonderful performance against the Springboks and then all of a sudden we turn around and concede seven tries."