Wallaby coach eyes improved performance
Australia coach Robbie Deans has made three changes for the Tri-Nations rematch against the All Blacks in Christchurch on Saturday, warning he expected a reaction to last week’s loss.
Fullback Kurtley Beale and the Faingaa twins, centre Anthony and hooker Saia, have been promoted after the Wallabies were pounded 49-28 by the All Blacks in Melbourne.
“Clearly if we are that inaccurate again the experience will be similar,” Deans said as he named his side on Thursday.
“You can’t give the All Blacks that amount of possession and deny yourself the opportunity to build pressure.”
Deans said the Wallabies were aware where they went wrong last week, and are “also aware they’ve got an opportunity this week to get on the front foot and move on from that”.
The Faingaa brothers come in for Berrick Barnes and Stephen Moore, who drop to the bench, while Adam Ashley-Cooper moves from fullback to outside centre to replace the injured Rob Horne.
The rampant All Blacks head the competition with a maximum 15 points from three games and will wrap up the championship with two games to spare if they win on Saturday.
The Wallabies have a win and a loss after beating defending champions South Africa before losing to the All Blacks, while the South Africans have lost all three games.
Deans said the All Blacks have capitalised on the new law interpretations, which have seen them unleash a high-paced game, counter-attacking from all areas and restricting their kicking options.
But he said his side were capable of producing a similar performance and he would not be drawn into the argument, raised this week by former Australia coach Bob Dwyer, that the All Blacks were cheats.
“Everyone can see the game, everyone can draw their own conclusions, it’s not difficult. I don’t want to wade into that area,” he said, noting the All Blacks conceded 13 penalties to the Wallabies’ seven last week.
The proliferation of yellow and red cards and player suspensions in the first five Tri-Nations matches this year was affecting the competition, but it was up to the players to stay within the laws, Deans said.
“In the Tri-Nations to date that’s an area that’s had a significant impact on the , so if it’s going to have such an impact, first and foremost we have to make sure it’s just.
“From our point of view the laws are what they are and it’s important we don’t get on the wrong side of those and leave ourselves vulnerable and compromised to risk.”
Although Cameron Shepherd has been named in the reserves for Saturday the winger remains in doubt because of a stomach upset.
Team: Kurtley Beale; James O’Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Anthony Faingaa, Drew Mitchell; Matt Giteau, Will Genia; Richard Brown, David Pocock, Rocky Elsom (captain); Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons; Salesi Ma’afu, Saia Faingaa, Benn Robinson. Reserves: Stephen Moore, James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Matt Hodgson, Luke Burgess, Berrick Barnes, Cameron Shepherd—Sapa-AFP.