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By Lee Stace

The end could be nigh for Wallabies coach Robbie Deans after his side’s loss to Scotland.

QUESTION: IS Robbie Deans’ future as Wallabies coach now untenable?

Answer: not quite, but the soft soil he already bears weight upon has now become slightly shakier.

The Wallabies have become the subject of international ridicule after being upset by the unfancied Scotland in Newcastle. People are pointing, laughing and making fun after the world’s second best team (well, that’s according to the IRB rankings) went down to a side that is 10 places back in the queue.

This reverse represents yet another slip-up since Deans signed the tenancy papers for his job in 2008.

The tale of the tape speaks for itself. In 2009, Scotland beat the Wallabies 9-8 in a rather drab contest at Murrayfield, while last year, Samoa shook the rugby foundations when it produced a stunning 32-23 upset in Sydney.

However, the most recent loss to Scotland is the worst of the lot.

As was the case in Edinburgh three years earlier, the Wallabies had enough possession and territory this time around to stitch together the seams of victory.

What’s more, this was a Scotland side which was coming off a disappointing, winless Six Nations campaign in which the only notable thing it collected while passing the finish line was the wooden spoon.

Deans’ loyal supporters and other Wallaby sympathisers will talk about how the side had limited time to prepare. Some may even blame the wet weather.

Quite frankly, those arguments don’t wash. The Wallabies second-string line-up still had enough talent and experience in the form of stand-in captain David Pocock, hooker Stephen Moore, halfback Will Genia, flyhalf Berrick Barnes and wing Digby Ioane to put the under-strength tourists to the sword.

The fact they failed to do so is simply not good enough.

So what does Australia’s recent faux pas on the international stage mean for Deans ahead of the three-test series against Wales?

It puts even greater pressure on the transplanted New Zealander to perform and now gives his growing list of detractors even more ammo to fire when they debate his merits as a coach.

Deans’ record with the Wallabies has hardly been flash. In fact, if truth be told, the bad performances have outweighed the good ones in his five years at the helm. Silly results have become a ritualistic custom, it seems.

Now Australia gets set to face a Wales outfit which is twice the side Scotland is.

Deans’ job appears safe for now. It is simply too disruptive to replace him with Ewen McKenzie just days before the first Welsh test in Brisbane.

But if he loses the series against the Six Nations champion, then you can guarantee the soil he currently stands on will fast transform into quicksand.

Posted Comments

Rob Porter
It strikes me that last year in similar terrible conditions with cold and heavy rain, the Scots caught out the Springboks in Edinburgh. Further, Australia under-estimated the Scots and got caught out.
Mark
The Wallabies won the Tri-Nations last year for the first time in 10 years. I don't remember too many 'experts' saying what a great job Deans was doing then. How about a bit of fairness for the coach. We've beaten the Boks in Africa 3 times in the last few years, a notoriously difficult place to win. Previously hadn't been done since 2000. I didn't watch the game against Scotland, but I am enjoying the Wallabies style of play more now than I have since Macqueen was coach. At least he gives new young players a chance.
Ramage
Sorry Lee Stace you are just another whinging oz journalist who cant take a loss. If you need to blame anybody surely the blame lies with the hungry ARU and its maestro John Scrooge O'Neill. So busy trying to screw more dollars from the public without a thought for the players. Accepting a game placed here was ridiculous and gave the coach players no hope of being able to string put on decent performance and may even have jeopardised the first test against Wales. Sorry Lee Stace you have just shown yourself up as a hack journalist. Get another job'
Jillyan Hing
Robbie, Please come home where you belong... NZ needs you!
Ice
Scotland are not that bad! Aussie has no depth, never has. Without their best 15 on they are ordinary and have always lost to Scotland/Ireland etc. Not the coaches fault that aussie has shite coaches at lower level and no player development compared to NZ. They do well considering.
dodger
ha losing to the scots must have been deans' worst nightmare... poor bugger, players really let him down and shamed themselves
Roger G
Will Genia needs to put his hand up and accept responsibility for Tuesday's debacle. Any scrum half who stops to have a quick cuppa before clearing the ball is doing his team no favours. Wallabys were running into a set defence everytime. A few high price prima donnas have forgotten that they are representing their country. Forget prep time. If you can't dig deep for 80 mins for your country, then get off and let someone else have a go. I'm sure there are thousands of rugby diehards who would do it for free.
Mal Davies
For fifteen or so minutes we saw the Wallabies hammering the Scotland line. And during that time most of the Wallaby backline could have walked off, had cuppa or two, returned to the field and nothing would have changed. Forward after forward charged the Scotland line, was met with sound defence and, predictably, Scotland eventually got out of trouble. Options? We had plenty! The odd chip kick, some creative running and quick passing (forget the weather), a grubber kick or two, perhaps a well directed 'bomb'. We had them on the ropes. And we should have dealt the knockout blow.
Nigel Lloyd-Thomas
The best way to stir these overpaid players into positive action and play like they should, is to pay them accordingly. DON'T pay 'Front-up' money, known as Match Fees. Everyone gates the same - $10,000 a win, $5,000 for a draw and $1,500 for a loss. That will very quickly change the attitude - guarranteed!!! ARU hasn't got the guts to try it, partly because Sydney University is too involved in Australian Rugby. RUPA is also to blame. Club rugby where it all starts, will soon be in a situation where NO player gets paid and nor should they.
Brian McErlane
McKenzie would do no better. If you have not got 'the cattle' - hard, tight forwards you can;'t win test matches. Deans is too polite to say this becauyse of his employers!!
John Blakemore
Please give Robbie Deans a break. The problem is not the coach it is the administrators who agreed to the Scotland match. Robbie Deans had one training session, players were backing up in 3 days, the match was played during the Super 15 competition and Scotland had a tried and tested team with a weeks preparation for a game played in scottish weather. I feel sorry for the players who have to put up with poor administration. deans now has an added problem of preparing for the Welsh. The administrators and Lee Stace owe Deans an apology.
Cantab
It's Robbie's fault is it that Players do not value Position and Possession of the Ball Let's Blame the coach not the Players Yeah Right
harry thompson
rugby in newcastle was set back another 100 years with that disgraceful performance by a FULLY professional side that played like 2nd grade amateurs. the fault is laid absolutely with oz rugby admin in reappointing deans before the world cup. go to nz & get a wet weather coach that could teach kids that game. i am totally embarrassed to support the wallabies after 50 years doing so worldwide.
Greg Paull
There are many examples in many sports of players and coaches being excellent at the penultimate level but unable to step up to the top level. Deans is another example.
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