Australia 22-23 New Zealand, Tri-Nations, Sydney, September 11
Deans focuses on the positives
September 12, 2010
The Wallabies suffered another Bledisloe blow against the All Blacks in Sydney © Getty Images
Australia coach Robbie Deans shrugged off his side's record 10th consecutive loss at the hands of rivals New Zealand insisting his side continue to show signs of progress.
The Wallabies slumped to a heart-breaking 23-22 defeat to the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday night to enter the record books for all the wrong reasons - eclipsing the previous mark of nine straight losses between 1936 and 1947. The result brought the hosts crashing back down to earth after an historic 41-39 victory over South Africa last weekend but Deans refused to dwell on the latest setback - preferring to focus on the positives.
"There's no doubt we've made progress but in the terms of the benchmark we are just under the brow," commented the Kiwi coach. In particular, Deans highlighted the continued development of the likes of Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor and Quade Cooper who all shone at times throughout this year's battle for southern hemisphere supremacy.
"There are any number of players who are integral, the good thing is the number who have integrated into our team," he said. "I take great heart from that, not the fact that we're closer on the scoreboard. If we can all make little incremental gains then collectively that will be significant and clearly we are not that far away.
"You've got to give the All Blacks credit for what they've achieved, what they've done in recent times. They're playing good rugby, they're the best side in the world but we're not resigned to that. We'll just keep working on our own game, working on what we bring to the game."
His New Zealand counterpart Graham Henry acknowledged Australia pushed his team hard in their last two encounters. "The game in Christchurch was a difficult game and tonight was a difficult game, the Wallabies have been playing some very good football," Henry said.
The Wallabies and All Blacks will meet in a fourth Bledisloe Cup match in Hong Kong on October 30 before embarking on their end-of-season European tours.