Coaching rival gives Deans the tick - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Coaching rival gives Deans the tick

By Darren Walton 20/11/2008 07:07:35 AM Comments (0)

In his own words, Robbie Deans suspects "there will always be pockets of resistance" to his appointment as the first foreign coach of the Wallabies.

But there shouldn't be too many, according to at least one man Deans beat to the job.

Former NSW Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie, now at the helm of Stade Francais in Paris after losing out to Deans, says the wily New Zealander - who ironically missed out on the All Blacks position before winning over the ARU - has proven a revelation in his first season with the Wallabies.

McKenzie says Deans' introduction of 13 newcomers to the Wallabies has been a breath of fresh air for Australian rugby.

He singled out unsung winger Peter Hynes - who until this year had been continually overlooked by national selectors despite being a standout for the Queensland Reds for several Super 14 seasons - as an inspired left-field selection from Deans.

"Hynes, I think, has been a great investment," McKenzie said ahead of the Wallabies' Test against France in Paris on Saturday night (0700 Sunday AEDT).

"Hynes is a bloke I was going to have a crack at getting for the Waratahs.

"I knew exactly why Deans was investing in him because he's played 10, 12, 13, wing all with aplomb and is in the game all the time.

"He's just correct. He does all the little things.

"As soon as he picked him, I thought that's a good selection because you can rely on him.

"He's what I call a player who you can budget on. There's a base performance there.

"He's going to be closer to the best player than the worst and he's going to be like that every week."

McKenzie has also been impressed by Deans' ability to galvanise the Wallabies into a tight bunch of utterly professional cleanskins with a common goal of wanting to succeed.

"I think definitely the cultural area of the team, he's made an investment there which I don't think has been made prior - or not often," McKenzie said.

"He's actually given that some importance. That's something that I understand because it's something I took on at the Waratahs as well.

"Making an investment there is like making an investment in your passing skills.

"So he's aligned the team. They know what's expected.

"They point in the same direction. There's been no issues off the field - not that I know of anyway.

"It has been a very clean season.

"It doesn't mean it can't happen, but it has been a very clean run in that respect."

McKenzie said critics could "debate selections and things like that until they're blue in the face", but, by and large, Deans had pulled mostly the right reins in his first season as Wallabies coach.

"I don't think he would say he's made no mistakes," McKenzie said.

"But I doubt he's made the same mistake twice."

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