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Deans: Wallabies still a force

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Sportal.co.nz     24 Apr 2012     Getty Images

The resurgent Brumbies are the only Aussie side in the top six through nine rounds, with the Waratahs (seventh), Reds (10th), Force (12th) and Rebels (13th) all battling to make the playoffs.

Asked if he has any concerns over the sluggish start to the provincial tournament, a resolute Deans replied: "No, never. You learn something every week, and that's what we're there to do.

"It's a great competition, there's nothing between teams and the reality is somebody has to be last and somebody has to be first, that's the nature of a points table.

"There's no doubt the Reds' performance last year was good but we don't have that sort of momentum right now, and whether we get it or not probably isn't that relevant to us.

"We'll gather a group, it's a distinct group, we'll determine how we want to play and the most important thing is how we come together."

Deans added of the recent dramas at the Force which saw the players vote against keeping coach Richard Graham at the club after he signed a contract with the Reds for next season.

"They (the players) were obviously involved in the process so they're more accountable now than ever, they've chosen their path now so they've got to make it work," he said.

"And in that respect, that's good, because that's leadership and that's something we put a real emphasis on, embracing their responsibility."

The Wallabies face a treacherous start to their Test season, with clashes against Scotland and Wales in the space of five days.

To further complicate matters, the Waratahs, Rebels and Brumbies all have Super Rugby fixtures to play on the weekend prior to the Scotland clash on Tuesday, June 5.

That means the Wallabies must rely predominantly on Reds and Force players to face the Scots.

"You look at that unique match in the first week and don't get me wrong, it's not something that daunts us," Deans said.

"Obviously it's fantastic for the playing group, how to deal with that circumstance of playing Super Rugby on the weekend, a Test match Tuesday and another Test match Saturday.

"Scotland and Wales are just going to be lying in wait, they've got an uninterrupted prep, they'll be jumping out of their skin and they'll see a great opportunity in Newcastle."

Asked if any players are likely to play in both the Scotland Test and the first Wales clash five days later in Brisbane, the coach replied: "Yes, they could. Much depends on their physical state at the time but I suspect there will be some at the time that will back up."

"You look at circumstance now, there are some blokes are getting a rest possibly they didn't want but they should be relatively fresh off the back of that.

"Part of that consideration will be whether we can get any preparation time with them, it's going to be tough for a Waratah or a Brumby or a Rebel, for example, who played Friday or Saturday night to then turn out in a Test match on the Tuesday with no background."