Camp not captaincy is key

Wallaby head coach Robbie Deans has no plans to confirm his captain just yet but he has reiterated his belief that preparation will be key when it comes to this summer's series with the Lions. [more]

Camp not captaincy is key

Wallaby head coach Robbie Deans has no plans to confirm his captain just yet but he has reiterated his belief that preparation will be key when it comes to this summer’s series with the Lions.

James Horwill’s extended injury absence has kept the captaincy question up in the air, with influential openside David Pocock tipped to take over when the Lions come calling in four months’ time.

But Deans is refusing to be drawn on who will wear the armband in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, preferring instead to focus on ensuring his squad get the most out of their time together ahead of the opening rubber on June 22.

Deans is desperate to have his squad in camp three weeks prior to the first international but is currently facing criticism from his colleagues at the five Australian Super XV franchises who don’t want to be without their main men any longer than absolutely necessary.

"Obviously preparation is key," said Deans, whose team will have gone nearly seven months without an official Test match before facing Britain and Ireland’s elite at the Suncorp Stadium.

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"You've only got to listen to (2001 Wallaby boss) Rod Macqueen.

"We were fortunate enough that Rod came in and spoke to us yesterday and he spoke about the fact that their preparation for the first Test in 2001 was negligent essentially, it was insufficient and hence the outcome.

"They had three weeks plus a game – we won't be getting that much but we've got to make the most of what we get and we've got to make it work.

"There's no point naming the captain this far out because there's so many things that can change.

"But the good thing is we've got a number of blokes who have had leadership experience in recent times."

Lions tour manager Andy Irvine and head coach Warren Gatland have spoken about the difficulties facing the tourists given that a large number of the squad could be involved in domestic and European competition right up until departure for Hong Kong and Australia, but Wallaby star Pocock believes it is the Lions who will have an advantage in terms of preparation.

"From a Wallabies perspective, the Lions have got lead-in tour games to get their combinations right and work on things, whereas we go straight from Super Rugby, so it's important we get enough prep time," said Pocock.

"It's an advantage, but it's just part of the whole Lions tour and the challenge that brings.

"That first Test will be a bit of an unknown, but after that we'll have a better understanding."

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