Why Robbie Deans is an excellent coach

I don't know if he is the best. I know, however, that I like him better than all the Meyer, Henry, Kidney, de Villiers, White, Gatland and other species that roam the world coaching here and there.


Well, forget for a moment all the Crusaders titles, right? Forget about the Super 14 and his successes. Pay attention only to his manners.
  • When it was public that the All Blacks coach position was open for applicants, he looked at him and said: "I think I am ready for the next stage". He was New Zealand's people favourite but the only thing he cared about was whether he was ready or not. It is not easy to have things clear and be honest when anything in New Zealand relating to rugby has so many attention drawn.

  • He is a leader and as such, cares for his people and is responsible for them. Mistakes and successes are shared and belong not to the individual. When the Crusaders fell to the Highlanders in the last rounds of the Super 14 2008, he did not blame at any player, but spread the guilt amongst all, he being the first. As a leader, what impresses me most is the freedom that he gives to his players. After her first game as wallaby coach, against Ireland, what he did was praising his players for trying new things. He said he meant them to try these things. Imagine the difference between a coach that says: "I never ever want you to do this" and another one that says "Well done, we must try new things. This time it did not work but, do you think it could work next time if ...?" The difference between making someone feel valuable and making someone feel he does things wrong.

  • He is often looking to collaborate with others. I will never forget the offer he sent to all the Super 14 coaches coaching Australian sides to share their impressions about the players they were coaching. Only Laurie Fisher did not want to cooperate and it made it impossible. I imagine him being the first to give the All Blacks coaching staff his views on the Crusaders players, if needed.
  • An important detail: He teaches, he cares. Look at him technically helping Luke Burgess, look at him telling Dan Carter to do with his future what he (Dan Carter) thinks is best.
  • He knows what his people need. Just take a look at the wallaby camp; they are the side with more changes after RWC'07. And the season has been designed to let them grow as a group first (with a clever first test and two weeks time after it to build from it) and as a team afterwards. Just what is good for Australia.
  • He does what he thinks is right. As when he raised Dan Carter to the vice-captaincy of the Crusaders or when he took Brett out of the semifinal against the Hurricanes to include Bateman.

And now, get back the memories of him riding the horses of the Crusaders to their titles and see how proud their players were of their coach the last day they were together on a field. Compare it to the Waratahs coach Mckenzie, who was sidelined by his skipper Vaugh when he spoke after the Super 14 final game.

I like Robbie Deans as coach and I think he will produce an outstanding performance for the wallabies. My question is, have Australia enough material for Deans?


Anonymous said...

That's avery good analysis.
To answer your question about the quality of players in Oz I can only say they DO NOT have the quality of rugby players. But what Australia brings to the table are athletes. Many rugby players excel only at rugby....Jeff Wilson is the exception rather than the rule.
Australian rugby players excel at many different sports. Somebody once asked me if I were drowning in a swimming pool twelve feet deep and on either side were the All Blacks and the Wallabys and I had to make the choice of which group would I pick to dive in and save me, I said emphatically the Wallabys because I had heard that many of the All Blacks couldn't swim.

sesenta y cuatro said...

Then, if what you say is true, the aim of any games between the wallabies and the all blacks should be:

a) for the wallabies, to make it as physical as possible.

b) for the all blacks, to make it as technical as possible.

Anonymous said...

In a way you are correct. I would say an athelete can out muscle an opponent of equal strength because he might have better balance or he utilize difficult parts of his body that a normal human can't. Atheletes can jump higher and run a bit faster and have unnatural moves. This nakes then harder to work in the scrum and more difficult to tackle in the run. They can catch the more difficult pass and pass the ball in the most awkward of positions. Physically, athletes come in all different sizes but usually the smaller the guy the better he is. It is sort of a natural selection reward.
The All Blacks have complete sets of rugby skills which are far better than Australians
One thing that is unproven is that the better the athlete the better the thinker.
THat doesn't make the team the better one; it just gives them a more competitive outlook.

monsieur rugbycan