Australia 39-20 South Africa, Tri-Nations, July 23
Deans delight at Wallaby bounce back
ESPNscrum Staff
July 24, 2011
Australia's Kurtley Beale makes a break, Australia v South Africa, Tri-Nations, ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia, July 23, 2011
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is confident fullback Kurtley Beale will recover swiftly from an ankle injury © Getty Images

Australia coach Robbie Deans hailed his side's response to last week's shock defeat to Samoa following their commanding 39-20 victory over South Africa.

Led by returning stars Will Genia, Quade Cooper, James O'Connor, David Pocock and James Horwill, the Wallabies dominated the game to put their Rugby World Cup preparations firmly back on track. It was also the perfect start to the shortened Tri Nations tournament as Australia ran in five tries to the Springboks' two to chalk up a valuable bonus-point victory.

"The boys got the job done well," Deans said. "They adjusted their mentality, they adjusted their body position and we played some rugby this week.

"Obviously we had some combinations that came back together again and that all assisted. And those that were involved last week were better for the hit-out and these blokes probably got a bit of a shot over the bow as well to ensure that they came back in the right frame of mind.

"The set-piece was good, the scrummaging was good, and critically we got our shoulders down. Not only in defence, but in attack we got some momentum which these blokes enjoy." Deans, though, was quick to remind his charges a far greater challenge awaits in their next match against the New Zealand at Eden Park on August 6.

"It was a step forward but it's going to have to be another one again," he said in reference to the game against All Blacks. "The good thing now is we get some time to re-gather, to recover and attend to a bit of detail and really hone in on the opportunity that we've got at Eden Park.

"The legs were better, the boys went the distance better, but it's going to go up another notch. And that's good, we're looking forward to that."

Meanwhile, Deans is hopeful an ankle injury to star fullback Kurtley Beale is nothing serious.

"Kurtley twisted his ankle at the end there. You never like to presume because they can be a bit tricky but it didn't look too bad," he said. "He wanted to run it out but we've seen that before, we've seen Rocky (Elsom) play a whole game (with a serious ankle injury) and he was out for two months afterwards, so hopefully it won't be too bad."

Springboks coach Peter de Villiers was left to rue his side's high turnover count, but praised the Wallabies' "brilliant" counter-attacking abilities.

"They took the chances that came their way quite brilliantly and the decisions they made were quite spot on today," De Villiers said. "Some people will say (we conceded) soft tries, I say they made decisions on the turnover ball that were brilliant.

"When you don't look after your ball properly and you lose it at crucial stages of the game (it's a problem). What worries us is that we can't look after our ball at breakdown time. We were counter-rucked more because we didn't control the breakdown area to what we wanted to."

De Villiers confirmed he plans to make "a few changes" ahead of Saturday's Test against the All Blacks in Wellington and insisted the absence of 23 front-line players from the touring party was "not by choice".

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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