Where are all the Robbie Deans bashers now?

Probably muttering to themselves in dark corners, that's if they are not explaining to people how the world is shaped like a dinner plate.

Okay, so everyone had their favourites for the All Black coaching job after Graham Henry's mob stuffed up the 2007 World Cup campaign.

But the staggering aspect of the debate was the twisted thinking that denigrated Deans' remarkable achievements at the Crusaders.

Check out New Zealand rugby, now that the master Crusaders coach has gone. You'll find one sick puppy, a sad mob of Super 14 lost souls mumbling arse-covering corporate speak.

The rotten state of the New Zealand game was being masked all along by Deans' influence and achievements.

Deans could speak as strangely as the next rugby man - apart from John Mitchell obviously - but unlike the other wafflers he put results on the board.

Now, the Crusaders are sliding down the slope, where they will crash into all the other useless New Zealand franchises.

The New Zealand teams may play fancy football at times, but in this level of sport the aim is to win trophies. And the prospects are as dire as last season when the Waikato lambs headed to an inevitable final slaughter in Pretoria.

The powerful, determined Deans alone among New Zealand coaches knew how to compete for titles by creating an empire where scouting, development, selection and coaching were spot on.

His ability to stir teams to rise from sticky situations was legendary, or it would have been had he come from the opinion-making capital of New Zealand - Auckland.

As per usual, the biggest New Zealand embarrassment this season are the Blues, where the expectations should be highest.

Any seasoned observer should have known the game was up the moment these pretenders started puffing their chests out having beaten the Bulls at Eden Park.

No one bothered to mention the travel schedule that had got the Bulls to Auckland, an exhausting trip via a game in Perth. No, no, no. Just another inconvenient truth.

The boys - that's the Blues players - had finally understood the game plan and were now on a glorious road to triumph.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Robbie Deans. That's what New Zealand rugby was all about, and for a long time. A master. A genius.

All those Super 14 triumphs, those finals appearances, the revivals in the face of adversity, the success even when the drongos in charge stripped him of his All Blacks.

And what did Deans get for that. He got C$#@@!^ on from a great height by the very people he had been covering for, the NZRU.

Anyway, the truth is out now, and even Richie McCaw and Dan Carter are failing by their own high standards without the master coach in charge.

The All Blacks will also suffer, without Deans' conveyor belt of hardened, properly prepared players,.

Not that the Deans deniers will ever admit to that.

As a nation of excuse makers, our dreadful Super 14 performances this season are portrayed by the rugby acolytes as a master plan to win the World Cup.

The basis for this theory is that we haven't won the World Cup when our Super 14 teams are playing well. Seriously. People actually put this theory forward, as if producing bad teams full of bad players is a lucky charm that will snare the Web Ellis Cup.

Hey, give me a Super 14 team to coach, because I could help with that.

Lucky charms? How about Andries Bekker, that enormous bloke who is stomping about for the Stormers like a man possessed. That's the sort of lucky charm to believe in.

A former All Black emailed me this week, questioning "New Zealand rugby's mindset" after hearing "the Chiefs captain explain how proud he was of his boys, how they had given their all in a great performance" after blowing their match against the Hurricanes, including duffing a winning penalty kick that a schoolboy could knock over in his sleep.

"On and on it went with the help of the interviewer ... PC nonsense," the incredulous ex-player noted.

Our rugby is mired in la-la land, with a central bureaucracy running riot while the branch offices fall apart.

The NZRU will never release its grip though. No siree. We can't hand over rugby to people who don't know what they are doing, even though we already have.

* The NRL's salary cap is under review, and not before time, even though the league bosses continue to defend the rigid system to the hilt.

This column is an ardent critic of the NRL's cap, to the point that I don't believe the Melbourne Storm are nearly as guilty of the terrible rort that many others see.

And no. I can't offer ground breaking solutions apart from the obvious need for dispensations to reward clubs for producing players and help them keep veterans in the game.

This is clear though - the NRL has to do something and get the best minds on the job. If they are so happy with it, why suddenly allow submissions for a review.

The Storm built their own team, and busted the rules to keep their players together. They did not buy a team - they created one. And they have kept the likes of Greg Inglis and Billy Slater in the NRL.

Even salary cap supporters would have to admit there is something very wrong with a minor sport that keeps losing its best players from the major competition.

Sonny Bill Williams and Mark Gasnier are the obvious star defections in recent years, but many other superb players such as Brett Hodgson (England) and Karmichael Hunt (Aussie Rules) have been lost.

The NRL almost lost Benji Marshall - the most entertaining player in rugby or league - to Japanese rugby, which should not stand a hope in hell of claiming an NRL star.

And now Israel Folau is said to be ready to depart.

If the salary cap defenders say their treasured wage control is not to blame, then pray tell us what the problem is. Because there is one, a serious one.

As for the Storm, the way they have run their club should be an example to other NRL teams, not something to tear down.

They actually represent the future, if the NRL wants to keep hold of the best players and delight the crowds.