Thu 17 May 2012 | 12:00

Deans fears Scottish 'sucker-punch'

Deans fears Scottish 'sucker-punch'
Thu 17 May 2012 | 12:00

Deans fears Scottish 'sucker-punch'


Wallaby coach Robbie Deans has warned his players not to underestimate lowly Scotland when the two countries meet in a mid-year Test next month.

Scotland will face Australia in a historic one-off Test in Newcastle on June 5 and the Wallaby coach fears another ‘sucker-punch’ like the one they suffered a few years ago.

Deans, who visited Newcastle on Thursday to hold a skills session to help promote the city’s debut as an international Test rugby venue, said Scotland can never be written off.

“While Scotland is coming off a disappointing Six Nations, they are a team that has traditionally punched above their weight internationally, especially when underrated,” the Wallabies coach says.

“We experienced that three years ago in Edinburgh [Australia lost 8-9] and will not be taking for granted the threat that they pose.”

Deans will name a training squad which features Queensland Reds and Western Force players on Monday May 28. Those players, who have the bye during the Super Rugby round on the weekend of June 1 and 2, will assemble to train in Sydney on May 28.

The Wallabies starting XV to play Scotland, along with the bench, will be named on Sunday June 3, after the Australian sides have completed their commitments in that weekend’s Super Rugby, which concludes with the NSW Waratahs-Hurricanes game in Sydney the day before.

The announcement has been put back a day, so the selectors have all of the information available to them – mainly on the injury front – before they finalise their combinations.

Deans says this process is to ensure that Australia fields “a strong combination capable of winning what will be a tough Test match!”

Deans has a long association with Scottish Rugby which stretches back to 1983, when he made his All Black Test debut against the Scots, in a tight game which finished in a 25-25 draw.

Three years ago, as Wallabies coach, he saw his Australian side beaten 8-9 at Murrayfield in a match which won for Scotland the Hopetoun Cup for the first time.

That trophy will be on the line again next month, as Hunter Stadium in Newcastle becomes just the seventh venue in Australia to host a Wallabies Test match.

“It’s going to be great to be playing a Test at home again after having limited opportunities last year [due to the impact of the World Cup],” Deans says.

“It’s also exciting to be playing at a new venue – in Newcastle, where the Wallabies haven’t appeared before. I’ve spent a bit of time in the city this year, am heading up there again this morning, and the excitement of the local community to be hosting this match is clear.”

Next month’s visit is the seventh by the Scottish national team to Australia.

There have been 10 Tests on the previous six visits, with Australia winning nine and Scotland one. This tally includes the quarterfinal of the 2003 World Cup which Australia won 33-16 in Brisbane.

Scotland’s win occurred in the first Test of the 1982 series, with a 12-7 result in Brisbane.

The Scotland side is coached by the former England Test player and coach Andy Robinson, who was Clive Woodward’s chief assistant with the World Cup-winning England team, in Australia in 2003.

The touring party includes five uncapped players, which includes the exciting Dutch-born wing Tim Visser, who recently starred for Edinburgh Rugby on its run to a maiden semifinal appearance in the Heineken Cup.

The other first time internationals are the Glasgow Warriors forwards Ryan Grant, Robert Harley and Tom Ryder and the Edinburgh Rugby back Tom Brown. All four were part of a Scotland A side which smashed its England counterpart, the Saxons, 35-0 earlier this year.

The Scotland party also includes the experienced British and Irish Lions, hooker and captain Ross Ford, halfbacks Mike Blair and Chris Cusiter and prop Euan Murray.

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