June 1, 2008 - 2:43PM
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw admitted New Zealand rugby's loss was Australia's gain after Robbie Deans masterminded the Crusaders' seventh title in 11 years with a 20-12 Super 14 triumph over the NSW Waratahs last night.
Deans will begin his four-year posting as Wallabies coach on Monday and McCaw said Australia could not have a better man in charge.
"He's obviously done a good job here. Hopefully he comes across and brings the same success over to Australia," McCaw said. "You can see with the Crusaders, no matter what the personnel, every year [we] have always moulded, believing in the same thing. The team comes first. The Crusaders are there to succeed, not individuals. Then individuals come second and they do succeed because of that. That's the thing I've learnt the most being in the Crusaders playing under Robbie. And I think that's been from day one and a big reason for the Crusaders' success and I'm sure that will be exercised [at the Wallabies]. It will be interesting."
McCaw said one of the best qualities Deans had spread throughout the Crusaders camp was treating each other as equals.
"No matter who you are as a player, whether you're a 50-Test All Black or a first-game Crusader, you're all treated the same and you all live by the same values," he said."You go out there to play for your mates, play for your jersey. We always say it's better to have a champion team than a team of champions and that's the sort of ethos that runs through the team. Because of that, you buy into what you do and it makes it fun."
Deans, the first foreign coach of the Wallabies, will announce a 30-man squad on Monday, after spending all day today "packing".
"I am [looking forward to it]. I've had dialogue with some people on the ground - [forwards coach] Michael Foley, Pat Howard - he's no longer high-performance unit [director], but he's obviously overseeing the process."
With the exception of teenage midfielders Rob Horne and Kurtley Beale, who will travel with the Australian junior team for the upcoming under-20 world championships in Wales, NSW coach Ewen McKenzie said the entire Waratahs squad should come under Wallabies consideration. In addition to the 30-man squad, a 26-strong Australia A squad will also be named.
"I obviously hope all of them get a look-in in somewhere," McKenzie said."There's a bunch of teams they're going to pick and I think I'm realistic enough to say not everyone's going to get in the starting Test XV. But I'd like to think the consistency that the players have showed over a long period of time and particularly the combinations and the fact they've been here fighting it out in important and tough [Super 14] fixtures will put them in good stead. I don't know what the playing philosophy is going to be etcetera, but the more the merrier. I guess one of the KPIs [key performance indicators] is to see how many you can get in there."