Melbourne - Robbie Deans, who admitted he had just endured the most challenging
week of his coaching career, has not given up hope of his errant No 10
Kurtley Beale being available for the second Test against Wales in
Melbourne on Saturday.
And Deans will call in Brumbies and Springbok 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning coach Jake White this week to observe training.
The Wallabies coach, whose position was under serious
threat after Australia were downed by Scotland in Newcastle last Tuesday, was more buoyant on Saturday after his team rallied to defeat the
Six Nations grand slam champions in the opening international of three
The past week has been tricky for Deans, having to
prepare a Test team twice in five days in two different cities. When
asked on Sunday if this had been one of the most challenging weeks of
his coaching career, Deans replied: ''The … (most challenging).''
Was this because of the demands, or the personal pressure?
''Just the demands. Personal pressure is identical week to week. It never varies,'' he said.
While Deans will reward the team that won at Suncorp
Stadium by picking virtually the same contingent for Melbourne, there is
a chance Beale could move to the bench. The only possible change in the
starting XV is tighthead prop Dan Palmer moving in for Sekope Kepu,
who has a strained forearm.
Whether Beale is available will be determined by two
factors - if he can convince the selectors he has overcome his shoulder
complaint and whether he will have to front an Australian Rugby Union
code of conduct disciplinary hearing this week.
The ARU is investigating an incident involving Beale and
Quade Cooper at Brisbane's Victory Hotel in the early hours of Friday
morning where police were called. It was last night awaiting a report
from Queensland Police, who attended the scene. No charges were laid.
However, on the rugby side, Deans believes Beale is close to a return.
''He's rehabbing hard and there is a chance he may be available,'' he said.
''But don't get too excited by it, because he hasn't
received the green light. Talking to Kurtley, he's feeling good. The
discomfort has gone and the critical issue now is strength. The medical
staff will want him to be back to full strength, before he re-enters.''
One should not expect Beale to go straight back in at the
expense of Berrick Barnes. Deans showed faith in Barnes after a
lacklustre performance against Scotland and recent struggles with the
Waratahs. Admittedly, he did not have too many other options as James
O'Connor, Cooper and Beale were all unavailable through injury, but
Barnes rewarded his coach with a high-quality performance.
On a dry track, Barnes was far more composed, combining
well with man of the match Will Genia. Barnes also showed he can
actually kick field goals.
''I have no doubt he would have enjoyed that, because
he's a bloke who has taken a lot of heat, and scrutiny,'' Deans said.
''But … he's a tough kid. He kept coming on, and kept offering. He
didn't back off. It's a great sign. And we will reward the group that
accepted the challenge.''
That means a consistent Test line-up for a change - a
luxury for Deans after he had to revamp his team for Scotland and then
While Wales head to Canberra for Tuesday's match
against the Brumbies, Deans is adamant the tourists will improve in
After the Brumbies match, their coach, White, will travel
to Melbourne and attend an Australian training session. In recent
weeks, he has provided assistance to Deans.