Deans 'is rugby's answer to Bennett' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Deans 'is rugby's answer to Bennett'

By Darren Walton 22/07/2008 06:11:35 PM Comments (0)

Rugby league convert Berrick Barnes has likened Robbie Deans to fellow supercoach Wayne Bennett and says his fun-filled training sessions are the secret to the Wallabies' newfound success.

Bennett introduced Barnes to the NRL in 2005 when he thrust the then-18-year-old into the first-grade ranks and on Wednesday Deans will introduce him to Bledisloe Cup rugby when he names the midfield playmaker in his side to tackle the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday night.

Barnes says it's been both a pleasure and privilege to have played under the two master mentors and believes their similarly laid back personalities, spiced with some competitive spirit, were key ingredients in their teams continually setting the benchmark.

Bennett has won six premierships with the Brisbane Broncos, plus State of Origin and Test series with Queensland and Australia, while Deans coached the Crusaders to five Super rugby titles and served as All Blacks assistant coach when they won back the Bledisloe Cup from Australia in 2003 and also took out the Tri Nations.

"The thing about Robbie, and the same with Wayne, is that the training is a lot of fun," Barnes said after another Wallabies training session on Tuesday which featured more jokes and high jinks than clipboards, whistles and witches hats.

"You come here to training, you compete against each other and there's a lot of games and you see a lot of laughing. We enjoy it and we compete and that's what I love about it.

"When you get competition in training, you know, just do drills consistently, you get game-like structure and you see the players play their way and that's what we like to do.

"You grow up since you're seven years old trying to play rugby, so you want to enjoy it.

"Wayne does the same thing and so does Robbie and you get that winning culture."

Barnes said Deans was just a "good bloke" who all the players related to.

"He's got a lot of Aussie in him now. I think the best nickname is 'Dingo'. It's good isn't it?" Barnes said.

"He's pretty low key; there's no shouting, no ranting and raving and everyone's calm."

Winger Peter Hynes, who has excelled for the Wallabies since Deans handed him his Test debut last month against Ireland, agreed that Australia's first-ever foreign coach had been a breath of fresh air.

"He's been fantastic for us," Hynes said.

"There's such a positive attitude within the team, everyone's happy.

"We go to training, it's not a chore. It's fun, it's all competitive and we love what we're doing at the moment and I think that shows on the field."

Flanker Rocky Elsom said Deans' preference not to focus on the opposition, but rather coach the Wallabies to play what's in front of them had been a refreshing change.

"He probably doesn't try and tell you what to do as much as give you the skills to make the right decisions," Elsom said.

"That's the most important thing, particularly with the way the game is going.

"You saw the game on the weekend - it was tremendously fast-paced - and you've just got to be able to think on your feet."

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