New Zealand v Australia, Auckland, August 6
Deans backs scrum to prevail
August 4, 2011
Ben Alexander has the ability to cause the All Blacks a few problems come Saturday © Getty Images
Australia coach Robbie Deans has backed his pack to cause a few headaches for their All Blacks counterparts ahead of theTri-Nations Test on Saturday.
Australia have placed great emphasis on eradicating weaknesses in their scrum in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup and Deans feels it is now much stronger than it was. Starting for the Wallabies in the engine room on Saturday are Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore and Ben Alexander. And Deans reckons his front row - despite the potential loss of Benn Robinson - have the ability to mix it with the best come the World Cup.
"You look at the depth there now. A year ago, certainly two years ago, if we had lost a bloke like (prop) Benn Robinson it would have been the end of the world. But we have got others now who are pushing themselves forward and have made advancements, we believe, and it all comes down to Saturday," Deans said.
"Any occasion against the All Blacks is significant, to play them at Eden Park doubly so.
"Clearly there's going to be a lot of scrutiny and a lot of interest around this game but from a players' perspective it is like any other. It's 80 minutes long, the whistle will blow, they'll get on with it and it should be a great contest."
Deans does not feel the All Blacks' seven changes from the side which beat South Africa will make a lot of difference.
"They're the most experienced combination in the history of the game so it won't make a lot of difference in terms of what they will bring to the game," he said. "You expect the best and I have no doubt that is what we will encounter this weekend."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.