Robbie Deans: Lions matches the ultimate experience for rugby's gladiators
Last Updated: 02/05/13 4:39am
Robbie Deans: Relishing the visit of a tough, powerful Lions squad
Australia coach Robbie Deans expects this summer's clashes with the Lions to be battles worthy of the gladiatorial arena.
Deans sees the Lions squad, picked on Tuesday, as one full of power and dynamism, but says comments in the Australian media that they were 'slabs of red meat' are unhelpful and way off target.
Fourteen of Warren Gatland's squad were members of the Wales squad that sealed the Six Nations title with a 30-3 win over England, and Deans is using that match as his reference point for a series he tabbed as the 'ultimate rugby experience'.
"That was such a convincing result at 30-3 and clearly from our perspective it was an insight into what's coming, the nature of the game, the intensity, the pace of it," Deans said.
"We look at that as the benchmark. It was brutal and it was relentless for 80 minutes. It was a complete performance.
"I have no idea where that (red slabs of meat comment) came from. We have a lot of respect for what's coming.
"It will be a fantastic series. The last occasion the Lions were here was in 2001. That was gladiator-like and you look at how the body types have changed since then. This one is going to be remarkable. This is the ultimate rugby experience."
"It will be a fantastic series. The last occasion the Lions were here was in 2001. That was gladiator-like and you look at how the body types have changed since then.
"This one is going to be remarkable. This is the ultimate rugby experience."
Deans has a few questions to ponder over his own squad before the Lions arrive, with captain David Pocock already out, but he should have veteran flanker George Smith available after his return from Japan and he has left the door open for Kurtley Beale, who is back with the Melbourne Rebels after a fight involving one of his team-mates.
He added: "George is keen so there should be no impediments but dealing with Suntory there's processes you've got to follow.
"Kurtley has just been named on the bench for the Rebels and he has obviously convinced his peers and the coaching staff that he is in the right frame of mind.
"He has a long way to go but there is a fair amount of rugby between now and then. There is a possibility he could put himself in the frame."
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