Robbie Deans calls into the coach's lair at game

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 07/07/2014

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Robbie Deans was back in the Crusaders coach's box on Saturday night.

The former head coach, who guided the team to five Super Rugby titles during his reign between 2000-08, visited Todd Blackadder, assistant coach Aaron Mauger and the injured Richie McCaw after the Crusaders beat the Blues 21-13 at AMI Stadium.

Blackadder spoke to Deans earlier in the day and suggested he make an appearance in the coach's box after the final whistle.

"I said to him to come in and say 'gidday'," Blackadder said. "It was just good to catchup and have a yarn. He was there in the stand watching the game with his son."

Deans, who coached the Wallabies from 2008 to mid-2013 and remained in Sydney after the Australian Rugby Union replaced him with Ewen McKenzie, was recently appointed coach of the Panasonic Wild Knights club in Japan.

Although a familiar figure in the coach's box at Lancaster Park, when he was in charge of Canterbury and the Crusaders, Deans has never worked at the new AMI Stadium in Addington.

His most recent gig as a coach in Christchurch was when the Wallabies lost 20-10 to the All Blacks at Lancaster Park in 2010.

Unlike Blackadder, whose heart-rate must have shot through the ceiling when Frank Halai scored his intercept try in the first half, Deans enjoyed the rare chance to relax as a fan.

"He did say it's not often he gets to watch a game without the high stress levels. It was also good to get some feedback on the way we are tracking."

One of the more pleasing sights for Deans would have been captain Kieran Read, a player he introduced to Super Rugby in 2007, recapture his form following his concussion issues.

Although Read was replaced mid-way through the second half, when the Blues led 13-11, Blackadder said it had nothing to do with his brain injury.

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