June International Tours

Former Wallabies boss Deans to coach Barbarians

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Former Australia coach Robbie Deans has been appointed as Barbarians coach for their matches against Ireland and England in May this year.

Deans made his name with Super Rugby side the Crusaders in Christchurch with whom he won seven titles.

In 2008 the Australian Rugby Union snapped up Deans after he was overlooked for the All Black position in favour of Graham Henry.

Deans led the Wallabies between 2008 and 2013 but after they lost a series to the British and Irish Lions he was replaced with Ewen McKenzie.

The New Zealander has already announced that he will have Australia fly-half Berrick Barnes, New Zealand lock George Whitelock and Argentina scrum-half Tomas Cubelli in his squad.

“I count my trips back to the UK as special times in my rugby coaching career and a couple of fixtures against the third and fourth ranked rugby nations in a World Cup year are an exciting prospect,” said Deans ahead of matches against Ireland at Limerick’s Thomond Park on May 28 and England at Twickenham on May 31.

“The Barbarians are an iconic team with a special place in rugby’s history and it is a privilege to be invited to be their coach,” added the New Zealander, who won five Test caps as a fullback for the All Blacks in the 1980s.

While the worth of Barbarians matches has sometimes been questioned in the professional era, last season they beat England 39-29 and in November only lost narrowly to Australia, 40-36, in one of the club’s best recent performances which included a classic length-of-the-field try finished by Marnitz Boshoff.

“Their performances against England and Australia last year were outstanding and that is the standard we have to uphold,” said Deans, who now coaches Panasonic in the Japanese Top League, where fly-half Barnes and flanker Whitelock have played this season.

The announcement came exactly 42 years to the day the Barbarians beat New Zealand 23-11 in Cardiff in a match containing arguably rugby union’s greatest try, scored by Wales great Gareth Edwards.

This year’s contests mark another significant moment for the Barbarians, who celebrate the 125th anniversary of their foundation on April 9.

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