Deans expects Lions to play like Wales

Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is expecting Warren Gatland to play the Welsh way when he takes his British & Irish Lions down under at the end of the month. [more]

Deans expects Lions to play like Wales

Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans is expecting Warren Gatland to play the Welsh way when he takes his British & Irish Lions down under at the end of the month.

Deans reckons the selection of 15 Welsh players under the leadership of 2012 Grand Slam skipper Sam Warburton means the Lions are going to play in the same style as Wales adopted to beat England in the final fixture of the 2013 RBS 6 Nations.

“The best insight we had of what it's going to be like was that final RBS 6 Nations fixture. It was brutal, relentless for 80 minutes,” Deans told the Australian media after hearing the Lions squad announcement.

”There's no doubt they'll play to their strengths. They've got an experienced group and they're not going to remodel the way they play.

“It will be very much gain-line oriented. They've gone back to what they know.”

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Deans will announce a group of 25 players on 19 May who will assemble in Sydney on 3 June. He will add six players to that initial squad after the Super Rugby matches on the weekend of 8 June – when the Lions face Queensland Reds.

Those players will then miss the remaining matches against the Lions and concentrate on the three Tests. Deans has also said there are no barriers to Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale to re-entering the selection equation.

Beale has been picked on the bench for the Melbourne Rebels this weekend after a month of counseling following his bust-up with a team mate in South Africa, while Cooper has been playing at the top of his game for the Reds.

“Kutley isn’t at the forefront fo our minds simply because of his circumstance But if he's fit and available, there's no hurdles to clear, then he's selectable," said Deans.

"He's been training, he's worked very hard, he's in good shape and gone back to the Rebels and commenced training with them. They'll make the decisions around when he'll return to the playing field and we'll watch with interest.

“We know him. We know his history and it might be one of those choices we have to make. He's been a big part of this group for some time now and he's been a big part of some defining moments.

"Kurtley needs to be comfortable in his own skin and in the right space of mind. I've got no doubt he'll be in the right shape. He's worked very hard in the last month. He's probably in better shape than he's been for a long time.

“If he can settle back into rugby life and show that he is someone the group can rely on, there's no reason why he can't be part of us.

“As for Quade, he is working really hard at his game. We've got a lot of competition there – tt's great."
 

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