Deans: Attacking aims nothing new

Wallaby boss Robbie Deans says Saturday's free-flowing approach at Twickenham wasn't due to a change in mindset. [more]

Deans: Attacking aims nothing new

Wallaby boss Robbie Deans says Saturday’s free-flowing approach at Twickenham wasn’t due to a change in mindset.

The Aussies scored just the one try in the 20-14 win over England but they regularly got over the gain line out wide and left their hosts guessing as to where they would attack next.

The impressive performance followed a 33-6 thumping in France and a series of uninspiring Rugby Championship showings in Pretoria and Auckland among others – defeats that had seen critics slam Deans for supposedly favouring a more conservative game plan than the Aussie’s have grown accustomed to.

But the man himself insists there was never any change of tack away from the adventurous approach shown in the triumphant 2011 Tri Nations campaign.

The former Crusaders coach dismissed the suggestion that pragmatism had become the norm prior to the trip to London and was quick to explain that circumstances in Paris in particular had meant that getting real width on the ball simply wasn’t possible.

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“Of course,” was Deans’ response when asked if an all-encompassing attacking style was the way forward.

“It’s not that we haven’t wanted that previously – it’s just that we haven’t been successful.

“Some of the components that make you successful were missing against France. We were on the back foot all the time, and defending against a team that has no momentum means they can pick you off. It’s counter productive to force the ball.

“You can’t succeed consistently at international level without involving all 15 players and being prepared to use them. It doesn’t mean you’re constantly throwing the ball to the edges. It just means that you’ve got to be effective in every channel.

“The French were only having to defend from the sideline to the far goalpost. That’s not hard with 15 blokes.”

Next up for the Wallabies is the weekend’s encounter with Italy in Florence. The Azzurri might have been battered by the All Blacks late on last week but Deans is still expecting a tough test prior to the clash with Wales in Cardiff.

“They'll be lining up for a crack, they're a very competitive international side,” added Deans, who knows his team will have to turn up mentally just like they did in London rather than switch off as happened in Paris.

“They've put us under the pump on a couple of occasions, often in Italy when we tend to play on tabletops. The set-piece will be big.

“The intensity in the game is so real that if you're not up for it, forget it.

“Attitude is a key component, particularly at this level, because it's just relentless. It can be slightly off and you're gone.

“It's important you enjoy what you do as well, because it's like in the game itself, not everything goes your way. It's about ensuring you get up and keep going and don't go missing.”

If the Wallabies do go missing this week, it wouldn’t be the end of the world given that they could still wrap a top-four World Cup seeding with a win over Wales but it would no doubt be a serious dent to confidence when you consider what is just around the corner.

While the Wallabies are publicly playing down the prospect of facing the Lions while they focus on the remaining half of their end-of-year tour, Deans admits that the visit of Britain and Ireland’s elite next summer is already well and truly on the agenda.

“The Lions are on their minds: it is, after all, an experience that only comes around once every 12 years.

"The Lions would be a great experience…if I am still here. Speculation about my future is constant.

“But the victory over England means nothing as far as that tour is concerned. As we have shown, one week is different from the next.”

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