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Deans gets backing for Lions tour

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Embattled Wallabies coach Robbie Deans looks likely to keep his job and be in charge for the British and Irish Lions tour next year.

Sydney – Embattled Wallabies coach Robbie Deans looks likely to keep his job and be in charge for the British and Irish Lions tour next year after rugby chiefs said there was “very little chance” of change.

Deans has been under pressure since Australia's poor Rugby Championship campaign this year, although a European tour that saw them beat England, Italy and Wales handed him breathing space.

The media have blasted his tactics, which saw the team end the year averaging just one try per Test, but Australian Rugby Union chairman Michael Hawker defended Deans's performance.

Hawker admitted he was concerned by the lack of tries “but we have been missing some of our most spectacular running backs”, he told The Australian.

“Having Quade Cooper and Will Genia and James O'Connor, all international-quality players, out of our backline does make a difference, just as New Zealand without Dan Carter and Richie McCaw would lose something.”

Deans, who has been coach since 2008, still has to undergo an end-of-year review by the board, which includes former greats John Eales, George Gregan and Brett Robinson, but Hawker suggested his job was safe.

“There is no view to moving the incumbent on until there is reason to,” Hawker told the newspaper. “There is very little chance of a change.”

The Wallabies face the Lions in three Tests at home next year, starting in Brisbane on June 22, followed by Melbourne (June 29) and Sydney (July 6). – Sapa-AFP


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