New Zealand v Australia, Tri-Nations, Christchurch, August 7
Deans playing the long game with World Cup
August 3, 2010
Robbie Deans is in relaxed mood © Getty Images
Robbie Deans will do everything he can to secure success for the Wallabies at next year's Rugby World Cup, even if it means losing his job along the way.
The former Canterbury fullback and legendary Crusaders coach is back in familiar surroundings this week as he prepares his side for a second shot at the All Blacks at Christchurch's Lancaster Park on Saturday.
While Deans would dearly love to snap an eight-game losing streak against his countrymen, at a ground which has a stand bearing his name, his objectives are long-term and he believes that a few setbacks, like their 49-28 hammering in Melbourne last weekend, will build the character of his young side.
"Regardless of the outcome at the weekend, there's no doubt that this time will serve this group well," he said. "I can tell you that in 14 months, they'll be there [peaking]. Whether I'm there or not is other people's decisions, it doesn't matter. I'm tasked with getting this group into the optimum state at that point."
The under-pressure Deans admitted that his side had a way to go until they can regularly compete with the All Blacks, who have entered a rich vein of form in this season's Tri-Nations.
"Off the back of last week's result, we're a long way away," he said. "Is there pressure? Yes there is, it's just one of the realities. We don't like losing any games. We don't like losing moments in games, let alone whole games... it's never going to be easy against the All Blacks.
"Ultimately, pressure is internal. It's something that the team has to master, in terms of mastering their own emotions."
All Blacks boss Graham Henry will enter 'Deans country' this weekend, and he is all too aware that many in the Canterbury rugby community believe that their favourite son should be the man in the home dugout following their World Cup exit in 2007.
"And I understand that, he's done a marvellous job for the Crusaders and Canterbury over the years and was a great player who broke all sorts of records," Henry said. "I totally understand there will be people who think he should have got the job when I was reappointed."