A look back on the five seasons under Robbie Deans

A look back on the five seasons under Robbie Deans

The end of 2012 marks five years of Robbie Deans being in charge of the Wallabies.

On the back of Scott Allen’s articles looking at rankings and workloads, I thought we’d have a look back at those five seasons. With the British and Irish Lions to visit next year, there has been much debate on whether Deans should stay or go. Hopefully this retrospective will shed some light on what’s been going on with the Wallabies.


G'day Dingo

G’day Dingo

The appointment of Deans came with much interest and questions over whether he could could bring his provincial coaching form from the Crusaders into international rugby.

The 2008 season got off to a flying start with five wins from the first five games, including an impressive 34-19 win over the Darkness in Sydney to give the fans hope of ending their domination over Australia. In those five games the Wallabies scored 16 tries, with three games having four tries scored in them.

Two close losses to the All Blacks followed before the end-of-year tour saw the arrivals of James O’Connor and Quade Cooper on the world stage, with Cooper scoring a late try against Italy. The spring tour went within four points of a clean sweep, with a three-point loss to Wales the only blemish. A game against the Barbarians capped the tour with the Wallabies coming out on top 18-11, although Matt Dunning and Sekope Kepu were badly injured during the match.

However, 2008 also included Deans’s worst loss that came at the hands of a rampant South Africa in Johannesburg, a 53-8 belting that saw league recruit Timana Tahu (remember him?) make his starting debut.

All up in 2008, the Wallabies played 14 Tests resulting a nine-win and five-loss record. Those 14 Tests yielded 33 tries at an average of 2.36 per game, which contributed to 319 points scored at an average of 22.79 per game.


O'Connor and Pocock at orientation day

O’Connor and Pocock at orientation day

2009 started with James O’Connor scoring a hat-trick against the Italians in the hope of establishing himself in the fullback role, of which he was already the fourth occupant during Deans’s reign.

The next four games in the Tri Nations all resulted in losses, although the greatest margin was just 12 points in a loss to the Springboks in Cape Town.

It was during these  games that Deans seemed to finally settle on a starting XV. One player Deans blooded was Will Genia, who made his debut against New Zealand in Auckland from the bench and soon became the first choice scrum-half, taking over from Luke Burgess.

The season-ending tour started with a loss to New Zealand in the money-spinner game in Tokyo before heading to England to play Gloucester. The English were up next and the Wallabies stalled their chariot but the chances of a grand slam faded with a last-minute draw with Ireland and then an embarrassing defeat to Scotland. Another tour match followed against Cardiff, which will be remembered for Matt Toomua’s broken jaw within three minutes. The last tour match against Wales resulted in a 33-12 win.

The 2009 Test season finished with six wins, seven losses and a draw, with four of those losses by 7 points or less. The amount of tries scored dropped to 29 in 14 Tests for an average of 2.07 per game. 288 points were scored at an average of 20.57.

Pages: 1 2 3


Canberra born and bred Rugby fan brought up on Canberra Kookaburra and ACT Brumbies Rugby.

More in Wallabies