Gregor Paul 's Opinion

Gregor Paul is the Herald on Sunday's rugby writer

Gregor Paul: Give up on Oz Robbie and fix the Blues

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

All coaches have a gambling instinct that convinces them that if they hang on, better performances and results will come. No doubt Wallabies coach Robbie Deans will have already brushed aside the shock loss to Scotland on Tuesday night. It wasn't a proper Wallaby team, the weather was dire and hey, even the All Blacks have a record of losing their opening test to sides they had no business losing to.

Here's the thing, though, the point coaches seem blind to: bad performances can get worse. A losing streak can run and run and a gaze into the future doesn't inspire confidence about the Wallabies' prospects.

Even when they bring back their superstars - James O'Connor, Kurtley Beale and Quade Cooper, their future still looks bleak. Even captain James Horwill isn't going to transform them into the quality test side they aspire to be.

The Rugby Championship could be a miserable experience for them and would anyone bet on them winning more than two games? Would anyone bet on them beating the Pumas in Argentina?

However bad things are now, they could be a lot worse by October but Deans will staunchly push on. The gambler's instinct will tell him this projection of dire results is utter nonsense. The Wallabies will come good - they are, after all, sitting at number two on the IRB world rankings.

But for those on the outside looking in, that confidence isn't there and Deans may be out of a job before the end of the year. The Wallabies have only won 58 per cent of their games on his watch and that may be dragged lower this season. The goal for them is to win 75 per cent of their tests and the time may be nigh to accept that Deans isn't going to get them there.

The irritation of this, perhaps inevitable situation, is that the Blues will have appointed a head coach by then. Despite the Wallabies' underperformance, Deans would still be a huge 'get' for the Blues. His ability at Super Rugby level is beyond question. He knows how to build a winning culture, talent spot and manage a campaign.

It might just be that the Wallabies are beyond redemption, that they will continue to bumble along regardless of who is coaching them until they start producing generations of hardened, set-piece forwards who can look after themselves at the collision.

And, before anyone starts saying a die hard Cantabrian could never coach the Blues, Deans is way beyond all that - descended from one of the founding Christchurch families, a proud New Zealanders and All Black he took on the Wallaby coach with the necessary detached emotion of a professional, career coach.

- Herald on Sunday

Gregor Paul

Gregor Paul is the Herald on Sunday's rugby writer

Gregor Paul is the Herald on Sunday's rugby writer. He has written several books on rugby including the Reign of King Henry, Black Obsession and For the Love of the Game.

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