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Deans plays down altitude issue

Australia coach Robbie Deans has played down the altitude factor that could have a major impact on the way his side's tour to South Africa pans out.

The Wallabies are without a win on the country's Highveld for almost 50 years, their last win coming in 1963 at Bloemfontein.

Both Tests during the current tour are due to be played well above sea level, the first at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld and the second in the Free State capital, but Deans said: "We don't have a great history at altitude. But to be frank, it's not the issue many people make it out to be."

And the Wallabies boss believes the way Australia sides have performed in South Africa during recent Super 14 campaigns will aid their progress at altitude.

He added: "Our recent Super 14 performances also show that it's not such a big deal."

Deans' side are now competing for second place in the Tri Nations with the Springboks after New Zealand sealed the title over the weekend.

Their one meeting earlier in the competition went the way of the Australians after they eased to a 30-13 win a little over a month ago.

And the coach is hoping that win will spur them on for big things.

He continued: "It's a good background to have.

"It was a good performance but we've seen in the Springboks response at the weekend that we'll have to be even better."

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