The Australian Rugby Union has flatly denied that under-pressure Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has tendered his resignation.
Speculation reached new heights yesterday when former Wallaby Jeremy Paul went on New Zealand radio suggesting Deans had signed a deal to return across the ditch. Others have linked Deans to the vacant Waratahs job.
''There is no substance to the rumour about Robbie Deans standing down to take up a job in New Zealand,'' an ARU representative said.
And a source close to the Wallabies coach added: ''Why would he leave the No 2 side in the world to coach NPC? He wouldn't.''
Deans accepting an offer to link with the Waratahs is just as unlikely. He has been contacted by the franchise, but only as a consultant as they look to appoint a new coach.
While Deans was reluctant to comment yesterday, it is understood he has no intention of quitting.
However, if every coach in world rugby was judged solely by their results against the All Blacks, they would all have their heads on the chopping block - not just Deans.
Yes, the Wallabies have won just three of 17 games against the New Zealanders since Deans's tenure began in 2008. But, this All Blacks side, World Cup holders and Bledisloe Cup owners, might well go down as the most dominant in the nation's illustrious rugby history.
Since 2008, the All Blacks have played 62 matches, with a winning percentage of 84 per cent. South Africa, who have been the All Blacks' most successful opponents in recent years, have a winning record of just 45 per cent against them, with five wins from 11 matches since 2008. That makes the All Blacks the most dominant side in world rugby of the past five years.
Along with the Springboks and France, Australia is the only other side to upset the world champions.
Of the All Blacks' 10 defeats since 2008, Deans's Wallabies account for almost a third of them.
To fall on his sword given the number of star players not as his disposal, including preferred five-eighth James O'Connor, would be uncharacteristic for Deans, an admission of defeat from a man renowned for never giving up.
''Whenever I've asked Robbie why he persists, he's told me it's because he loves the challenge,'' a former Wallaby told the Sydney Morning Herald.
But nemesis and All Blacks coach Steve Hansen believes Deans can't possibly do any more with the amount of talent at his disposal.
On New Zealand radio yesterday, Hansen offered the Wallabies coach a backhanded compliment.''He's bound to be [feeling the pressure], he's got to be,'' Hansen said. ''I think the players are too.
''They had the same look in their faces [after the game]. They were flabbergasted: 'Where do we go next, what do we do next?'
''It's not a great position to be in when you are like that, because if you've got no answers, you can't actually improve.''
In Deans's defence, the All Blacks are missing just one injured player, while Deans is without O'Connor, David Pocock, James Horwill, Wycliff Palu, Pat McCabe, Rocky Elsom, Sekope Kepu and Tatafu Polota-Nau among others.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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