Deans: Wales true NH giants
Thu, 11 Oct 2012 14:08
It should be a fantastic contest
Wallaby coach Robbie Deans believes their clash against a Wales team at the ‘peak of its powers’ will be the greatest challenge of their end-of-year tour.
The Wallabies travel to France, England and Italy before facing the current Six Nations Grand Slam champions at the Millennium Stadium for the climax of the season on December 1.
Despite the IRB World Rankings placing both England (4th) and France (5th) higher than Wales (6th), the New Zealander believes caretaker head coach Rob Howley’s side are the best in Europe.
Australia have just completed a gruelling Rugby Championship campaign and lie in second place, behind the All Blacks, in the official world order.
Deans went into this season with a 3-0 Test series success over Wales on home soil in June, but he has not forgotten just how close the visitors came to beating the Wallabies whilst on tour down under.
“The intensity of the rivalry between Australia and Wales was evidenced by the closeness of the three contests in Australia during the [Northern Hemisphere] summer, which followed on from two equally tight games which closed out 2011,” said Deans, who also saw his side edge out Wales in the Rugby World Cup third place play-off in New Zealand last year.
“I’m sure December 1 will provide more of the same. The Millennium Stadium is one of the great venues in world rugby.
“The fact that it is home to Europe’s best team – the two-time Grand Slam winner of the last four years – only makes the challenge that awaits even greater.
“It will be, as always, an occasion that both our players and the Australian public at large look forward to.
“With British and Irish Lions jumpers on the line, and the chance to match up against our best in a prelude to what is coming during that series in Australia next year, we know that we will be facing a Welsh side at the peak of its powers.
“It should be a fantastic contest.”
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