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Wallabies getting ready for TriNations

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The Wallabies, fresh from record back-to-back victories over France, are preparing for the sterner challenges of World Cup champions South Africa and New Zealand in the Tri-Nations.

The Wallabies were again too good for the French, winning by a record 40-10 on Saturday in their third victory under new coach Robbie Deans.

The Australians have a fortnight before their Tri-Nations opener against the Springboks in Perth on July 19 with South Africa facing New Zealand again in Dunedin next Saturday after going down 19-8 to the All Blacks in Wellington this weekend.

Kiwi Deans, who controversially lost out to incumbent Graham Henry for the All Blacks’ coaching job despite New Zealand’s shock quarter-final exit from last year’s World Cup in France, is preparing Australia for the big step up in the Tri-Nations.

“I only caught 20-30 minutes of the first Tri-Nations Test on television and from what I saw, it will be another level, there’s no doubt about that,” Deans said after the Wallabies put four tries past the hapless Frenchmen.

“But these guys are ready for that, they’re excited about what’s ahead of them, we’ve built from week to week and that’s what we’ll look to do again.

“It’s really evident it’s a totally different arena and different contest, but that’s fine,” he said.

Deans believed the Springboks and All Blacks laid more on the line at the breakdown under the experimental law variations (ELVs) being used in the Tri-Nations than in other IRB internationals.

Ruck and maul infringements are punished with short-arm free kicks under the ELVs, preventing three-point penalty goal attempts.

“It was pretty brutal, it wasn’t just around the ball either,” Deans said.

“The willingness around the collisions and the opportunity there to get a broken-arm sanction (free kick) was evident as teams were piling numbers into that (tackle) area.

“We’ve made great growth in that area and it’s not something that we can’t deal with.” Deans was reluctant to compare Matt Giteau’s five-star Brisbane display with his looming individual battle with his former pupil Dan Carter.

Giteau was on top form and could do no wrong against the French, providing the final pass for all of Australia’s four tries and landing all his eight goal attempts — four conversions and four penalties — for a match tally of 20 points.

Deans, who coached Carter for six seasons at the Super 14 champions Canterbury Crusaders, wouldn’t be drawn into measuring Giteau against the world’s best No.10, who he will plot against for the first time in Sydney on July 26.

“I leave that to others but I’ll be happier if he compares favourably in a few weeks,” Deans said.

“He looked settled, didn’t he, in the role.

“There’s two parts to that: there’s the fact that he’s in the saddle and riding well but also there’s the fact he’s got people around him who are providing him with options and that just makes it easier for him.”

“He still has to see and have an awareness of what is on and pull out the right choice at the right times and he did that really well.”

While Australia has lost fullback Cameron Shepherd (broken leg) for the Tri-Nations, lock James Horwill (eye socket), centre Berrick Barnes (shoulder) and tighthead Al Baxter (eye) should be alright to play against the Springboks.

Sapa-AFP – TriNationsweb.com

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