THE WALLABIES are now at a stage where they can beat anyone in the world, says coach Robbie Deans.
Since inheriting the reigns of the Australian side in 2008, Deans has decided to take a punt on promising youngsters.
Indeed, Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale, David Pocock, Will Genia and David Pocock have all been blooded at international level by the former Crusaders mentor and have thrived as a result.
Despite having their ups and downs and learning a few harsh lessons along the way, the Wallabies did beat the Springboks in Bloemfontein - their first win on the South African Highveld in 47 years - and end a 10-match losing streak against the All Blacks in Hong Kong last year.
Given that recent success, they now believe they have all the qualities to become the best team on the planet during this vital Rugby World Cup year.
“All those young guys now know that they belong,” Deans told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“They now know they can foot it at this level, and that frees them up in terms of their state of mind and their composure within the game to then apply themselves to team priorities. That's been obvious across the board. And that's also a critical component of any successful team. Individualism only goes so far.”
Asked when exactly the players realised that they belonged, Deans replied: “That happens when you start picking up results ... possibly results you haven't had previously, but you wanted. You get one done. You get the taste. You want another, then, rather than being outcome oriented, you start prioritising things that are important.”
Whether the Wallabies can break a 25-year losing streak against the All Blacks at Eden Park this Saturday won’t be known until after fulltime.
But star fullback Kurtley Beale says the Wallabies are confident and have taken a lot of heart from the Queensland Reds’ victory over the Crusaders in the Super Rugby final three weeks ago.
“The Reds victory has also rubbed off on to a lot of the guys,” he says.
“There is a lot of confidence within the group, not too much cockiness, but just confidence that we know we have the ability to tear any team apart. It just revolves around getting our minds right.”« Back to Articles
This weekend throws up another set of games which could go either way.
Which player was unlucky not to make the Wallabies’ preliminary squad for the British and Irish Lions series?