It’s a case of ‘Chris who?’ for Wallabies
The final question from the floor to Australia's coach Robbie Deans was a routine ‘what do you make of the opposition?' enquiry but it was met with a particularly flat response.
“Robbie, the Irish have named a new number eight, Chris Henry, have you seen much of him?”
“No, I haven't.”
“Any of the rest of you?”
Blank stares from Quade Cooper, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Daley and Rob Horne. Press conference over.
The Wallabies have taken a bit of a kicking from the media since going down to England in Sydney last weekend and yesterday's briefing showed all the signs of it.
Losing at home to the ‘Poms' is always going to make you unpopular here.
But the fact it was a game that Australia should have won — and would have won had Matt Giteau made his kicks — has heightened the level of accusation.
Deans hailing from New Zealand does not help his situation when things go awry and there was definite feel of the Wallabies closing ranks yesterday and focusing on themselves — hence the relative lack of interest in the Irish line-up.
Deans has allowed the same team that flopped against England the opportunity for atonement against Ireland, with Adam Ashley-Cooper for Digby Ioane and Luke Burgess for Will Genia the two injury-enforced changes.
The Irish players that did merit extended comment yesterday were captain Brian O'Driscoll and out-half Jonathan Sexton. Deans revealed that he had been expecting the Leinster man to get the nod over Ronan O'Gara and he believes it sends out a message about Ireland's approach to the game.
“Not a lot of surprises, I suppose,” was Deans' reaction upon being handed a print-out of the Irish team.
“We probably anticipated that. He (Sexton) is a younger player but he's pretty experienced both at franchise and international level. He's got a pretty complete game.
“With Ronan you get a little bit more predictability around his game than possibly with Jonathan so it suggests they will be very positive with the ball.”