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Defence was the key - Deans

Australia's New Zealand-born coach thrilled after humbling the All Blacks

Last updated: 26th July 2008   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Defence was the key - Deans

Deans: returned to haunt the All Blacks

That was a good mental test but they got up and got on the front foot and finished strongly.

Robbie Deans
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Robbie Deans hailed an outstanding defensive display after Australia beat New Zealand 34-19 in Sydney on Saturday.

Wallabies coach Deans - a New Zealander - stretched his unbeaten record to five Tests and, in the process, showed the New Zealand Rugby Union what they are missing, having been overlooked for the All Blacks job last December.

Australia scored two tries in each half at Sydney's Olympic Stadium to claim a bonus-point win and move top of the Tri-Nations standings.

"It was great. I'm very proud of the lads," Deans said.

"We were forced to defend for long periods and, at times, it was tenuous but they hung in and they created a lot of turnover ball just through the intensity of their tackles, and they were able to build enough pressure."

Australia led 17-5 in the first half but conceded tries either side of the break to go behind 19-17 before responding with 17 unanswered points to run out deserving winners.

Mental test

"That was a good mental test but they got up and got on the front foot and finished strongly," Deans added.

"It's going to be harder next week when we play the All Blacks in Auckland but obviously there's enough belief there for them to keep going."

Matt Giteau, who kicked 14 points, claimed afterwards the Wallabies were always confident, despite being starved of possession for long periods.

"We always had belief, we just didn't have the ball," said the fly-half.

"Once we had the ball we were able to build points and build pressure."

All Blacks coach Graham Henry admitted his team only had themselves to blame for the loss after turning the ball over 25 times.

"First of all, I have to congratulate Australia, they played magnificently," said Henry, who had his contract renewed last December despite presiding over a quarter-final exit at the 2007 World Cup.

"We're disappointed, we had some opportunities but we didn't convert them.

"It was a hugely fast game...and our guys ran out of steam perhaps."

The result is New Zealand's second defeat in row but Henry is not pressing the panic button.

"We've got a lot of work to do," he admitted. "We've got three more games to go (in the Tri-Nations) and we've got to turn it around.

"A lot of the guys played well out there, the senior guys in particular.

"A lot of the guys who have played football at this level played well. Some of the younger guys found it difficult with the pace of the game and they'll learn from that."

New Zealand and Australia meet again in Auckland next Saturday (Aug 2) when the All Blacks are likely to welcome back captain Richie McCaw from injury.

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