Robbie Deans seems resigned to his dark fate
A shattered Robbie Deans spoke like a man who had coached his last Test for Australia after the Wallabies suffered a big-stage thrashing on Saturday night.
Beaten up and dominated 41-16 by the British and Irish Lions in a demoralising third Test ambush, the Wallabies are set for a new mentor before The Rugby Championship next month.
With the Australian Rugby Union sounding out the Brumbies and Queensland to potentially release Jake White and Ewen McKenzie, respectively, Deans was forced to acknowledge his coaching future was out of his hands.
"Those decisions will be made by others," the New Zealander said.
"You don't presume anything in this industry and that decision is made by others, and who knows?"
Significantly, Deans almost seemed resigned to his fate when he detached himself from the team he's led for six seasons on being asked how they would regroup from the four-tries-to-one thumping.
"I've got no doubt the boys will regroup, (The Rugby Championship) is a different competition and a different circumstance ... a completely different tournament," he said.
"There's no doubt these blokes will respond - they're too good a side not to."
Asked if he was excited by a tough challenge ahead, he said: "I'm not excited, in terms of what I've just been through, but that doesn't change the possibilities and potential of the group.
"They're a better side than what they put in there tonight and that's the disappointing thing."
The Wallabies were not helped by an early head clash for flanker George Smith as well as a torn hamstring by Israel Folau, not to mention a demolition job by the Lions scrum.
Captain James Horwill said he was devastated by the series-deciding loss which handed the Lions the Tom Richards Cup but still stood by Deans.
"Robbie's the coach - he's contracted and he's the coach," Horwill said. "He's a great coach (but) now's not the time, five minutes after a game, to talk about coaching positions."
In his six seasons in charge, Deans led the Wallabies to one Tri-Nations title, third place in the 2011 World Cup and no Bledisloe Cup success.
It is Australia's poor 3-15 record in 18 trans-Tasman Tests against the All Blacks which had him under pressure before this year and a backlash against discipline issues has also helped seal his fate.
Senior players and influential ARU figures were particularly unhappy with how star backs James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale have continued to misbehave off the field.