Deans is done ... or is he?
Mon, 08 Jul 2013 08:15
There has been a lot of emotion and comment
The Australian Rugby Union moved to dismiss reports of Robbie Deans' departure, amidst speculation that his contract has already been terminated.
Australian media reports on Monday claimed that Ewen McKenzie will be unveiled as the new Wallaby coach as early as Tuesday and take the Wallabies through to the 2015 World Cup.
This comes after reports that the ARU have already released Deans from his two-year contract six months early.
It is reported that McKenzie has seen off a powerful challenge from Brumbies coach Jake White, who was considered a strong favourite for the position just last week.
However, ARU Chief Executive Bill Pulver is quoted as saying he won't be rushing into a decision on the future of Deans.
This is in the wake of numerous media reports - since Australia's 16-41 loss in the deciding third Test to the British and Irish Lions at the weekend - that the New Zealand-born Deans will be fired.
However, Pulver dismissed these reports.
"There has been a lot of emotion and comment expressed from various areas ... we will not be entering into any speculation or debate on the coaching issue at this stage," Pulver said.
The Wallabies next play in the Rugby Championship beginning August. 17.
However, this did not stop the local media from reporting that McKenzie will coach the Wallabies to the 2015 World Cup and that he will be unveiled Tuesday as Deans's replacement.
Deans has coached more Wallabies Test matches than anyone else in the nation's 114-year history. But the first foreigner to coach the national team may well have done so for the last time.
Deans has presided over 74 of Australia's 554 Test matches since joining the Wallabies in 2008 with a reputation as one of the world's top leaders after guiding provincial side the Crusaders to Super Rugby titles in 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008, and finals appearances in 2003 and 2004.
He has led Australia to 43 wins, 29 losses and two draws, for a winning percentage of 58 per cent.
Deans's record against South Africa is the highlight, with nine wins from 14 Tests. Under his reign, the Wallabies have won five from six against France, four from six against England and eight from nine against Wales. They claimed the Tri-Nations tournament in 2011 and finished third in the 2011 World Cup.
However, there have been some crushing lowlights under Deans and a sense that the Wallabies have never quite settled since the transition that began with the retirements of George Gregan and Stephen Larkham the year previous to his taking over. Deans had his fair share of bad luck with injuries and created depth by blooding a new generation of players. However, the returns have never quite materialised.
Against New Zealand, Deans has managed just three wins in 18 attempts at the helm, marking a dark period in Bledisloe encounters. Other lowpoints under his tenure have included losing twice to Scotland, 8-9 at Murrayfield in 2009 and 6-9 in Newcastle last year, as well as a 23-32 defeat to Samoa in front of a stunned home crowd.
At the weekend the Wallabies suffered a record loss in the third and deciding Test against the British and Irish Lions, possibly Deans's last Test at the helm.
Sources: AP & Sydney Morning Herald
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