x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Australia 'galvanised' by Argentina performance ahead of New Zealand test, says coach

Under-fire Australia coach Robbie Deans believes the performance against Argentina in the Rugby Championship showed the side retains team spirit.

Australia head coach Robbie Deans
Australia head coach Robbie Deans

Robbie Deans, the Australia coach, believes his side's battling win over Argentina on Saturday in the Rugby Championship has galvanised the previously-struggling team.

The coach had been under fire from critics going into the inaugural four-team competition, with claims of a 'toxic' environment within the squad.

But just seven days after a disastrous 31-8 thumping by South Africa in Pretoria, Deans' injury-ravaged Wallabies proved they remain a committed and united team with a brave 25-19 win over the Pumas in Rosario.

While Deans stopped short of declaring the win a turning point for his team he said the performance had says the performance "galvanised" the group.

"There's no doubt some of the qualities they displayed in that game will be invaluable," Deans said.

"There were a couple experiencing their first starts in the backline and obviously there was a lot of youth in the side and it was a challenging circumstance, but they showed they fully understand what it's all about and played with a lot of pride and got the job done.

"We'll take everything of value out of it and there were some good things.

"Blokes who didn't have much background have played some good rugby. Most importantly the team really galvanised and came together and played for each other and that spirit was evident."

The injury-depleted Australians face arch-rivals New Zealand in the third Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane next week, and Deans is under no illusions as to the challenge that lies ahead against the world champions.

"Obviously we've got to improve to get that job done but we'll rest up and recover and really hone in on that opportunity," he said.

Skipper Nathan Sharpe, who will retire after the clash against New Zealand, added: "It was good steel shown by the team in Argentina, that's the pleasing thing, but we know that our game's going to have to lift against the All Blacks in Brisbane in two weeks' time.

"We've spoken about that as a group and we're looking forward to that challenge."


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