Wallaby coach Robbie Deans caused a stir this week when, at the Australian launch of the Super 14, he suggested that the Springboks are better than the All Blacks.
The official International Rugby Board world rankings put New Zealand at least three rankings points ahead of South Africa – literally putting daylight between the two sides. However, Wallaby coach Robbie Deans turned those rankings on its head by suggesting that the Springboks are ‘clearly’ the world’s best team.
Deans, speaking at the Australian launch of the Super 14, told a media gathering that the Boks’ year-end form showed they are better than an All Black team that won a Grand Slam against the four Home Unions.
Rugby 365 reports that it is an assessment that has shocked his countrymen, as the New Zealand-born Wallaby mentor suggested the Boks’ humiliating thrashings of Australia (53-8) and England (42-6) were better value than the Kiwis’ unbeaten run on their year-end tour.
Apart from their Grand Slam-winning exploits on the six-match year-end tour, the Kiwis also retained the Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup trophies.
Reigning World Cup champions South Africa are ranked No.2 in the IRB list, with the Wallabies in third place.
New Zealand also managed to out-play South Africa two-one in the Tri-Nations series, whitewashing them 19-0 in Cape Town – the first time ever the Boks were scoreless at Newlands.
However, this counter very little in Deans’s rating, who felt the Boks’ 45-point hammering of the Wallabies in Johannesburg showed they were back to their powerful best.
“They obviously won the World Cup [in 2007] and, you look at last year, their performances were a bit flat post-World Cup,” Deans said.
“But you look at the performances across the year and the best performance was what they did to England at Twickenham, and what they did to us at Ellis Park.
“They were the stand-out performances in the calendar year. Sure the All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup and walked away with the Tri-Nations but in terms of compelling performances they belonged to South Africa.”
Deans said he was optimistic about the year of international rugby awaiting the Wallabies.
“We were close last year, but the fact is where we were was probably a fair reflection of our realities,” he said.
“It can be done, but it’s not going to get any easier.”Tweet