Dublin - Ireland will improve on their Six
Nations title form and mount a major World Cup bid, according to the next
international coach aiming to outwit Joe Schmidt.
Former Australia boss Robbie Deans takes
charge of the Barbarians at Thomond Park on May 28 - when Ireland return to
action for the first time since lifting the Six Nations trophy at Murrayfield.
Deans has watched Ireland’s development at
close quarters. His Australia side were beaten by them in the pool stages of
the 2011 World Cup after registering wins at the Aviva Stadium in 2008 and
And he expects Schmidt’s team to develop
the all-round game that saw them finish the Six Nations by putting Scotland to
the sword 40-10 to successfully defend their title.
"Ireland have got a real depth of
belief there now and they’ve had some consistency in recent times,” said Deans.
“They’ve got an experienced group but also
a very vibrant group, so they’ll be looking with a lot of confidence towards
the World Cup.
"Essentially they’ve worked very hard
- you can see it in their conditioning - they’ve got a real clarity in the way
they want to play the game and it shows. It makes it easy for the playing group
to bring what they’ve got to the table.
"It was a good performance against
England - it probably surprised a few and that was a good English side - and I
think they’ll be better again come World Cup time. It showed their maturity.
Joe Schmidt is keeping them very focused, that’s evident.”
Deans also urged Paul O’Connell - Player of
the Tournament in the Six Nations at the age of 35 - to think twice about
hanging up his boots after the World Cup.
"Paul's stature in the world game is
massive and he’s got a huge amount of respect around the globe,” said Deans.
"I noticed the other day that he said
he wouldn’t necessarily close the door on the likelihood of further rugby and
that’s a good thing because he probably gets better year to year! He’s
certainly an immense part of the Ireland game. He will leave a big void for
someone to fill."
Deans will lead a multinational Barbarians
side against Ireland and England in May - and he insists they will uphold the
traditions of the famous invitation side which came into being 125 years ago.
"To me the Barbarians concept is
everything that’s good about the game,” said Deans.
"It’s about the team aspect, the
camaraderie of the game, looking to play positively and constructively, being
prepared to take some risks and also wanting to win.
“Limerick is the heart of Ireland and the
public there will really add to the occasion. Then you’ll have an Irish team
that will be playing for World Cup spots and the Baa-Baas team who will want to
maintain their traditions and add to the spectacle. It should be great.”