Struggling Aussies want big break

Fri, 27 Jul 2012 07:18
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Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says Australia needs a five-week mid-season break in next year's Super Rugby schedule.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says Australia needs a five-week mid-season break in next year's Super Rugby schedule to prepare players for the Test series against the British and Irish Lions.

He told a media scrum on Friday that anything shorter will be "a recipe for disaster."

Australia Rugby Union Chief Executive John O'Neill said his organization had already begun negotiations with its New Zealand and South African counterparts in the hope of expanding the mid-season break from three weeks to five to accommodate the Lions series.

Deans said "anything short of that is negligence."

The Super 15 was halted for three weeks this season, for the first time in its history, to allow Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to play June Test matches.

With Australia squeezing in a Test against Scotland on a Tuesday before the first weekend of the break, some players backed up a few days after a Super game and had just one or two runs with their Wallabies teammates before the match in Newcastle.

At the time, Deans was philosophical about the circumstances that led to the Wallabies' 9-6 loss to Scotland, who hadn't won in Australia in 30 years.

But on Friday, Deans stressed that Australia could not afford a repetition next year.

"That would obviously be a recipe for disaster," Deans said.

"It [the Lions series] is an important moment in every rugby player's life, once in every 12 years they get this opportunity."

The Lions will play nine matches in Australia between June 5 and July 6 next year, with all five Super franchises playing the tourists.

O'Neill said negotiations had already started with South African and New Zealand officials over next year's Super break and he was confident of achieving a satisfactory outcome.

"The window here in Australia needs to be wider than it necessarily will be for South Africa and New Zealand, because we have the Lions arriving early June and they are here till early July," O'Neill said.

"We need not a three-week window, we need a five-week window.
"It means South Africa and New Zealand could well resume Super Rugby without us and play their local derbies."

Sources: AP & NZ Newswire

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