Deans backing Aussie teams to win Super14

Wallaby coach Robbie Deans says that he believes the Brumbies and the Waratahs are both good chances to win the 2009 Super 14.

The Waratahs and the Brumbies are still alive in the tournament with one week left of the round robin stage and they are two out of seven teams that can win the tournament.

Their main problem is that they may not get to the play offs in order to win the Super 14.

The Brumbies can reach the play offs but they need a bonus-point win over the in-form Chiefs in Hamilton.

The Waratahs need to get a bonus-point win over the Lions in Johannesburg and pray other results go their way to sneak into the top four.

Should either get through, five-time Super Rugby winning coach Deans believes the resilience shown by both sides in 2009, and the wide-open competition, could see an Aussie team challenge for the silverware he knows so well.

“There’s no doubt. Particularly with their background,” Deans told the Daily Telegraph.

“When you look back over time, teams who have done well and their background of qualifying, it is often those who have come with a background of adversity and pushed on.

“Particularly if qualification looked like a long shot at some point, because they come in with a psyche of developed toughness.”

“There’s an unshackling, with the resilience, and that’s a good blend.”

As Crusaders manager in 1998, Deans’ team lost three of their first four games but then swept home for their first Super 12 title.

What has pleased Deans ahead of his second term in charge of the Wallabies has been the growth of “resilience” in Australian teams.

The Brumbies have have won five games of six since Shawn Mackay’s death, and the Waratahs are undefeated on tour in South Africa.

“The Brumbies have been proof of that, as a group who have experienced some pain and fought their way through, turned challenges to their own advantage,” Deans said.

“The Waratahs have had to show resilience and had to persevere, not only in terms of the off-field scrutiny but also some on-field challenges. They’ve fought hard.”

Deans also gave his strongest indication yet that Stirling Mortlock will remain as Wallabies captain for the June rugby Tests.

Mortlock has been on the wing for the Brumbies, prompting speculation he might not make Deans’ Test team.

But, speaking at the Wallabies’ ticket sale launch yesterday, Deans endorsed his 2008 captain.

“Stirling has shown through Super Rugby again that he is still a player who has a presence and an ability to impact on a game.”

“As recently as last weekend his acts were the pivotal acts in the game,” Deans said.

Deans said the Wallabies’ first 30-man squad – to take on the Barbarians, Italy and France in June – would have a different look but may not contain too many new faces, given he used 39 players in 2008.

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