Rugby: Deans avoids war of words

Robbie Deans. Photo / Getty Images
Robbie Deans. Photo / Getty Images

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans described Steve Hansen as "a very good fisherman" today, but refused to take the bait from his New Zealand counterpart before Saturday's Bledisloe Cup opener at ANZ Stadium.

Hansen arrived in Sydney on Thursday and wasted no time firing a shot at his former Crusaders stablemate, questioning his selection changes from last year's World Cup semi-final.

The new All Blacks mentor, who has taken over from Sir Graham Henry, was drawing attention to Deans' controversial decision to omit five-eighth Quade Cooper from his 22.

Hansen and Deans share a tense relationship following a reported falling out, but the Wallabies coach made it clear he wasn't going to bite back.

"Steve is a very good fisherman. He loves fishing," is all Deans would say at the Wallabies' captain's run press conference.

Deans was an integral part of the All Blacks coaching team which wrestled the Bledisloe back from Australia in 2003, and says he feels a responsibility to now win it back for the Wallabies and prevent a 10-year drought.

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

"Clearly it's time. It's pretty straight forward really. It's far too long.

"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."

Deans stressed the importance of opening the three-match Bledisloe campaign with a victory on home soil - as Australia must next week travel to the Eden Park graveyard for a return fixture.

He said it was also crucial to get off to a flyer in the revamped Rugby Championship format which now incorporates Argentina.

"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."

-AAP

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