Former All Blacks and Crusaders loose forward Scott Robertson says there is no chance of Deans flaying his players on the practice fields as punishment for their shock defeat to the Highlanders last weekend.
“A few years ago he would have. I remember after a loss down in Dunedin one year he flogged us at training down at some back field before we boarded a flight back home,” Robertson said.
RugbyHeaven NZ reports that with the Super 14 semifinal against the Hurricanes at AMI Stadium on Saturday night, Deans will be concentrating on keeping his men fresh.
“Things have changed,” Robertson said. “He’s a lot smarter than that. He’ll read how his players and team are and he’s the best person to do that.”
Robertson, who played under Deans when he was with Canterbury, the Crusaders and the All Blacks, said the coach would have spent the 24 hours after the defeat formulating strategies on how to beat the Hurricanes.
“He would have also taken some senior players into a meeting. They have to take some accountability and think about what to do about it.”
On Monday the Crusaders emerged from the Rugby Park changing sheds later than scheduled, but Deans denied it was because of any prolonged soul-searching in the team meeting.
If the Crusaders were to maintain their psychological grip over the Hurricanes – who have won only once in nine encounters in Christchurch – they must be harsh on themselves, Robertson said.
“It could be a great wake-up call if they think like that. If they are honest they can move forward. But if they fudge over it, they could be in trouble.”
Like most fans at AMI Stadium last Saturday night, Robertson said he was surprised at the Crusaders’ lack of intensity – even if the result meant nothing because they had qualified for the semifinal.
“Obviously, they were ahead of where they should have been. It was really uncharacteristic. But they have the perfect man in charge to turn it around.”
Richie McCaw said that, as captain, he was required to speak, along with the coaches, to the team.
“Everyone knows it’s not about saying things, it’s about getting out there and doing it at training . . . There’s no point talking about it all the time. That’s what we perhaps found out last week. We all talked the right thing, we just didn’t do it.”
Meanwhile, Mose Tuiali’i, Kieran Read and Corey Flynn skipped the first training session of the week.
The fitness of Tuiali’i, who is nursing a sore knee, is causing the most concern. It is likely the experienced No 8 will be given every opportunity to prove he can start.
The Crusaders team will be named on Wednesday.Tweet