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Deans confident of Wallabies comeback

08/08/2008 04:36:43 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans believes some of his players may have "relaxed" in the return rugby Test against the All Blacks in Auckland.

The Australians were given a massive reality check last Saturday - after five successive victories to start Deans' reign - when they were steamrolled by New Zealand 39-10 at Eden Park.

That was just a week after an impressive Australian win in the Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney.

Deans said the Wallabies failed to handle the physical intensity that New Zealand brought to the second game.

He said the players were excited and preparations ran smoothly but some may have slackened off.

"Maybe some of the players relaxed just a little bit, failing to appreciate that the All Blacks would come at them even more strongly in light of their setback in the first game," Deans wrote in his column on

"If so - and only each individual would really know the answer to how the circumstances impacted on their performance - I know as a group we will have learned much from the experience."

Set to regroup on Wednesday after a nine-day break before a two-Test mission against the world champion Springboks in South Africa, where the Wallabies haven't won since 2000, Deans said he was feeling confident.

"As far as our progress as a team goes, the Auckland experience was a setback, but it need not be any more than that," he said.

"I would like to think the reverse won't impact too greatly on the confidence that has been built up within the group, but that is something we'll really only be able to judge retrospectively.

"That's the challenge that lies ahead for the men of gold.

"It is one I am confident the team is up for, as we assemble next Wednesday ahead of one of the greatest quests that exists in world rugby: the challenge of winning Test matches on South African soil."

Deans said the Australians needed to improve their workrate at the breakdown, where they were comprehensively outplayed by the Kiwis.

"Getting on the front foot there allowed New Zealand to dictate much of the game through the tactical nous of Dan Carter," he said.

"We then compounded the problem with some of our decision making under pressure."

He believed his side needed to continue to chance their arm against opposition, even if it didn't always succeed.

"It didn't always come off, but the approach said a lot about their positive attitude," Deans said.

"Those qualities and habits should stand them in good stead as we further build the team and develop our game."

The Wallabies' next Tri-Nations challenge is in Durban on August 23 before they wrap up their South African tour in Johannesburg seven days later.

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