Deans defends Samoa selection

Robbie Deans has defended his team selection after Australia were shocked by Samoa on Sunday. [more]

Deans defends Samoa selection

Robbie Deans has defended his team selection after Australia were shocked by Samoa on Sunday.

The Wallabies were beaten 32-23 in Sydney as their World Cup preparations got off to the worst possible start.

Head coach Deans rested a number of his first-choice XV for the Wallabies opening game of 2011 – a step which has since been widely criticised by the Australian media and the general public.

But Deans himself, who looks set to be offered a new contract that will see him remain in charge until after the 2013 Lions tour, insists he had no choice but to rest the majority of the Reds stars that had helped the Queensland franchise to Super 15 glory just a week earlier.

"From our perspective, we had no choice. The Reds didn't come in until Monday," said Deans.

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"They'd had an enormous campaign that had just finished. We then gave them a window to recover out of necessity and obviously chose a combination based on that fact.

"It wasn't an experiment. We were between a brick and a hard place. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

"Sure we could have thrown them out there, but the outcome may not have been much different and we would have been doubly worse off.

"We've been able to give some of those blokes time to recover, recuperate and to look forward."

Suggestions that complacency was at the heart of a first-ever defeat to the Samoans were also rebuffed by Deans, with the New Zealander stating that the issue had been discussed within the Wallaby camp prior to the match itself.

"I don't know what other people were thinking, but we certainly weren't complacent… and we talked about that, internally and externally," added Deans.

"It's an easy suggestion to make under the circumstances but we just didn't play well. None of us are comfortable with that, but a suggestion that based on a lack of respect is nonsense.

"We talked pre-game about the capabilities of the Samoan side. This was their World Cup combination chosen from their best players across the globe. As we saw they are a good side…they've got some proud history behind them and we didn't underestimate them.

"It wasn't a great experience. It's more about the fact that we lost. It's more about the fact that we didn't play well.

"Had we not done either of those two things, the reaction may have been different. We expect the criticism – that's been our reaction."

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