Deans has empathy for Gatland

2011-10-19 14:29

Auckland - Australia coach Robbie Deans has sympathised with his Wales counterpart Warren Gatland, who stirred a Rugby World Cup controversy by admitting he'd considered asking a front rower to fake an injury to force uncontested scrums in last weekend's semi-finals.

Gatland said he thought about it in the first half of the 9-8 loss to France after prop Adam Jones left the field injured, then flank Sam Warburton was sent off for a dangerous tackle in the 18th minute.

Asked on Wednesday if he'd ever considered similar ideas, Deans replied: "I haven't, but I've been accused of it."

"If I was in Warren's shoes... I can understand his frustration," he said.

Deans and Gatland, both New Zealanders, will be in opposing roles when Australia meets Wales on Friday in the third-place playoff at Eden Park.

The scrum laws changed for safety reasons in 1998, allowing squads seven reserves - one more than previous - in case of injuries in the front row. Deans was in favour of going to eight-man benches to ensure at least two props were back-ups.

"It's a good idea for the future of the game to ensure that we do have adequate cover for those shapes," he said. "Not too many mothers, to be fair, encourage their sons to start up front, but it's a critical point of difference for the game.

"The other element that would be good, that would come out of it, not just at international level but right throughout the levels, it would mean that you'd be able to give everybody rugby. Everybody trains as hard as each other so to have the ability to give all of those front rowers access to the game would be good."

The front row has long been an area of concern for Australia, particularly against the more powerful scrums.

The Wallabies have played uncontested scrums in Deans' tenure, in 2008, when the Barbarians obliterated the Australia scrum on a woeful, slippery Wembley surface.

In an instant, both props were taken off injured, Matt Dunning with a snapped Achilles' tendon and Sekope Kepu with a torn pectoral muscle. Both were sidelined for many months, so there was no doubt about the legitimacy of those injuries.

Deans was also outspoken on the World Cup's future. This is widely expected to be New Zealand's last chance to host the World Cup because it can't generate the commercial revenue the International Rugby Board needs to derive from its marquee tournament to fund the global game.

However, the enthusiasm and excitement from New Zealanders has ensured the tournament, as an experience for the teams and fans, has been one of the best ever staged.

"New Zealand has done it very well," said Deans, a former All Blacks fullback.

"There was a lot of comment around when they first earned the (hosting) rights but they've done a great job and the countries embraced it. It's been a success.

"The interesting thing for the IRB is, will it ever come back to a place like New Zealand again?

"Given they are probably the preeminent rugby nation right now and have no intentions of letting go of that in the near future, that's got to be a consideration for the governance of the game."

Deans said it was a fine balance between commercial expectations and actual experience of the event.

"What prevails? You ask people who have gone to great expense to visit a country like this, where they do understand it's a rugby destination," he said.

"That's important. You can't just go to a commercial destination for these events all the time.

"But I don't want to go too far, I'll get in trouble."


  • Theprodigy - 2011-10-19 17:47

    rather go to Europe on holiday than to NZ for a rugby game only to see the ref have a bad day (understatement) in the office. Glad I didn't waste my money.

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-10-19 18:05

      You probably couldn't afford it anyway

      Barry - 2011-10-19 20:53

      @ Theprodigy...I agree. Its a hell hole of a country anyway. I have been there !

      Alan - 2011-10-20 00:25

      @ Theprodigy - Exactly, why spend good money to visit a country then their own ref riggs the result cause they are too scared to face your team. What's worse is that some of them have such bad judgement, they think cheating is acceptable if it allows you to win - what went wrong down there all those years ago? By the way, is it still raining over there cause we are having just the most gorgeous weather over here in SA.

      Theo - 2011-10-20 07:18

      sam.kaitawa agree with you on that .Theprodigy or Bruce as he is known as at his local pub lives in a poor white area and would not be able to afford it anyway.he can only travel via his Pc ( if he owns it) and drop his poop he calls comments all over the internet. the boks was his only way of ever viewing a glimpse nz or oz and also uk during matches.

      Theo - 2011-10-20 07:49

      Alan agree with you too. you do have gorgeous weather. it helps all those criminal elements to see you better and have a really pleasant time hijacking , raping, mugging, murdering and just having a real blast. then they have a really nice starlight evening to start it all over again while the rest of you clutch your firearms under your pillows and sleep with one eye open waiting for the rottweiller dogs you keep to bark their warnings of an intruder. @ Theprodigy - Exactly, why spend good money to visit a country like nz or oz that has none of the above and miss all of that gorgeous weather back in SA.

  • Ken - 2011-10-19 23:35

    @ Theprodigy....I agree. to many ferns out there!

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