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Deans rates Springboks as No.1 team

By Jim Morton 04/02/2009 07:21:49 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has ignored rugby's rankings and 2008 results to rank South Africa, not the All Blacks, as the best team in the world.

In an assessment which may shock and dismay many of his former countrymen, New Zealand-born Deans said the Springboks deserved to be rated No.1 due to their humiliating thrashings of England and Australia.

NZ sit on top of the International Rugby Board's world rankings after winning last year's Tri-Nations and going through their end-of-season tour unbeaten.

Reigning World Cup champions South Africa are No.2, with the Wallabies jumping two spots from fifth to third under Deans in 2008.

The All Blacks held a 2-1 advantage over the Springboks in last year's Tri-Nations but Deans said South Africa's latter-year form showed they were back to their powerful best.

Peter De Villiers' men ended the Tri-Nations on high by delivering a record 53-8 thumping of Australia in Johannesburg before whipping England 42-6 at Twickenham.

"They obviously won the World Cup (in 2007) and, you look at last year, their performances were a bit flat post-World Cup," Deans said on Wednesday.

"But you look at the performances across the year and the best performance was what they did to England at Twickenham, and what they did to us at Ellis Park.

"They were the stand-out performances in the calendar year. Sure the All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup and walked away with the Tri-Nations but in terms of compelling performances they belonged to South Africa."

Deans rated the Hurricanes, Durban-based Sharks, NSW Waratahs and his old team, the defending champion Crusaders, as the teams he most expected to excel in the Super 14, which kicks off on Friday week.

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