Rugby Championship

Deans: Time to lift Bledisloe

2012-08-17 11:05
Robbie Deans (Gallo)

Sydney - Wallabies coach Robbie Deans admitted on Friday that it was a tough task to wrench the Bledisloe Cup from the All Blacks' grip, but said it was time for a change of guard.

Australia have not won the Bledisloe Cup since 2002 and Deans wants that to end, starting with victory in Sydney on Saturday in the first of three Tests between the arch-rivals.

"Clearly it's time. It's pretty straight forward really. It's far too long," he told reporters.

"But we're getting it done, the boys have worked hard, we understand that the All Blacks won't let go lightly. That's the nature of the way they push their work.

"This group I can assure you is really looking forward to kick-off."

The Wallabies will be facing the All Blacks for the first time since their 20-6 defeat in the semi-finals of the World Cup and Deans has compared the trans-Tasman rivalry to cricket's Ashes series between Australia and England.

Making Saturday's match all the more mouthwatering is Deans having been an integral part of the All Blacks coaching team which wrestled the Bledisloe back from Australia in 2003.

He said he feels a responsibility to now return it to the Wallabies.

"Obviously we'd love to, and yes, I'm part of that," he said.

New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw is determined to ruin Deans' plans, but is taking nothing for granted.

"The reality is that the team we will run out against has some quite good players," he said.

"You look at the team and they are all quality individuals and we're in for a big challenge."

The All Blacks are chasing victory with a new coach after Steve Hansen replaced the World Cup-winning Graham Henry.

Hansen and Deans share a tense relationship following a reported falling out. Hansen set the scene on Thursday by firing a shot at Australia's selection changes from last year's World Cup semi-final.

Deans refused to take the bait.

"Steve is a very good fisherman. He loves fishing," was all he would say in response.

Instead, Deans focused on the importance of opening the series with a victory on home soil, with Australia travelling to Eden Park for a return leg.

He said it was also crucial to get off to a flyer in the revamped Rugby Championship format, which now incorporates Argentina, as well as the former Tri Nations roster of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

"It's really important now for both sides. It's a new format, it's going to be a tough championship, there's no doubt about that," he said.

"Any side that gets off to a good start will get the benefit of that. Every outing is going to be key because there'll be nothing given."

Read more on:    wallabies  |  robbie deans  |  soccer

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