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Deans plays the underdog card against B & I Lions

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says the Lions will have a 'huge advantage'

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Article Published: Friday 8 March 2013






Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has played the underdog card by saying that the British and Irish Lions will have a "huge advantage" in the three-Test series.

Deans was defending a controversial training camp which will pull Australia's best players out of Super Rugby in the weeks prior to the Lions Tests.

Deans made no apologies for putting a 25-man squad into an extended three-week camp and making them off limits to their Super Rugby franchises in the build-up to the June 22 first Test in Brisbane.

While the Wallabies will come together on June 2, the Lions - drawn from the four home nations England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland - will play three matches together in that time on their tour, which happens every four years.

Deans said he had hoped to have one warm-up match during the camp, like Rod Macqueen's 2001 team who played New Zealand Maori before a 2-1 series win against the Lions.

But it will not happen and he will make do with high-contact opposed sessions in training.

Deans, facing his biggest series as Wallabies coach, rated Australia's preparation as the "shortest in the history of the game for a Lions series".

"You go back to 2001 and the Wallabies had similar time (to prepare) but with a (warm-up) game, so it was obviously a more complete prep, and they got spanked in the first Test," Deans told reporters.

"Rod Macqueen, who spoke with us recently, quite openly conceded that the preparation wasn't adequate, and he's genuinely concerned by what we're confronted with.

"There's no doubt the Lions will have a huge advantage in terms of entering the series."

Macqueen said he spoke to Australia's extended 49-man squad at a logistics camp in January about the intensity and magnitude of the series against the Lions, and underlined the ferocity of the 29-13 opening loss at Brisbane's Gabba in 2001.

The Waratahs, Brumbies, Rebels and Reds all wanted to have their star players available for June 7-9 Super Rugby matches.

 
 
 
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