Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Australia coach plans changes

Robbie Deans
Robbie Deans

Australia coach Robbie Deans is set to make changes for the Wallabies' World Cup bronze medal match against Wales at Eden Park on Friday.

Both sides are on the rebound from painful semi-final defeats, Australia having lost 20-6 to New Zealand and Wales being edged out 9-8 by France.

Deans said: "It is very likely there will be change, quite simply off the back of the burden that the core group have had. There are some pretty battered bodies."

Whatever switches Deans decides to make, though, Wallabies skipper James Horwill has no doubt motivation will not be an issue in the Australian camp.

Horwill said: "I think it's a good thing we are playing so soon (after the semi-final), because of the fact that you cannot sit and dwell on these sort of things.

"The fact that we, in four days' time, pull on the jersey and finish this tournament off on a positive note is the thing that's going to drive us. We want to finish this tournament on the right note, and that will be by finishing third."

Deans, meanwhile, moved to deflect criticism from fly-half Quade Cooper, who sent his kick-off in Sunday's semi-final straight into touch and was then booed at every opportunity by All Blacks fans.

"The key thing for Quade is moving on," added Deans, of his New Zealand-born playmaker.

"There are two ways he can go. You can absorb it, accept it, for what it is, but maintain your focus on the things that are important and keep going. Or you can let it get the better of you and turn your toes up. I would like to think he won't be doing the latter.

"I've been very impressed, actually, with the way he has carried himself because clearly a lot of the dialogue has been unwarranted. It's easy for people who really have no knowledge of the man to take a pot-shot. I think the way he's carried himself has been impressive under the circumstances."

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