Rugby-Pressure builds on Deans as Wallabies lose again

Reuters

Sun, 26 Aug 06:46:00 2012

Australia's failure to regain the Bledisloe Cup from New Zealand has upped the pressure on under-fire coach Robbie Deans and raised questions as to whether he will see out his contract.

The Wallabies were humbled 22-0 by the world champions at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday, continuing their run of losses at the ground stretching back to 1986.

It was also the first time in 50 years Australia had failed to score against the All Blacks, whose defence swamped an attacking Wallabies backline capable of destroying most other teams when the mood takes them.

The All Blacks' victory ensured they retained the Bledisloe Cup for a 10th successive season and made the third match in Brisbane, which is not part of the Rugby Championship, a dead rubber before both sides embark on northern hemisphere tours.

The magnitude of the defeat was not lost on the Australian media with respected Sydney Morning Herald rugby writer Greg Growden questioning whether Deans would still be in charge when the Wallabies leave on their end of year tour.

"So there goes the Bledisloe Cup for yet another year and with it intensifies the serious doubts over whether Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will last that much longer in the position, because his long run of losses against the All Blacks is starting to be overwhelming," Growden wrote on Sunday.

"Making it that much more infuriating was that the Wallabies never looked as if they were ever going to break their duck.

"There were still enough glaring signs early that the divide between the teams remains considerable."

'GIVE CREDIT'

The All Blacks' defensive dominance meant the Wallabies never looked like scoring as they played much of the game hemmed inside their own territory with their first kickable penalty not awarded until the 51st minute.

Mercurial flyhalf Quade Cooper, recalled in a bid to spark some creativity, was often bypassed as first receiver and when he did attempt to take on the line he was smashed by the marauding All Blacks pack.

Australia were too often forced to kick the ball away as they had run out of ideas and relied on their own defence, and some sloppy handling and decision making by the All Blacks, to keep the score down.

Deans' contract runs until after the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia next year, but after a 14th loss in 17 internationals against their trans-Tasman rivals with the New Zealander at the helm, the drums will be beating louder for a change.

However, he told reporters in Auckland on Saturday that his side had met a team showing the confidence of their World Cup triumph last year and few would have matched them.

"Let's give credit to the All Blacks performance. That was an outstanding performance," he was quoted as saying by New Zealand's Herald on Sunday newspaper.

"They're a side which is playing with the confidence of being world champions and I don't think there's any side in the world which could have footed it with them tonight, including ourselves, obviously."

Deans added he was not worried about his own future.

"Like I said, it's not about me. It's about the team and what we do," he said.

"We're at the front end of the Rugby Championship, we've played the All Blacks back-to-back, we now re-set our sights for Africa and Argentina.

"It's the last thing on my mind right now. It's about the team and we'll pick it up and carry it on."

 

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