Robbie Deans has warned his 43-man training squad to start taking themselves seriously or risk losing respect.
The Australia coach announced his squad, who have started a four-day training camp, on Monday. Deans will then reduce the squad to 35 players, who will tour to Europe after their fourth Bledisloe Cup match against the All Blacks in Japan.
Deans said a win against New Zealand will be crucial, but added that adjusting their attitude will be their main objective.
‘Obviously it’s important that we get it done,’ he told rugbyheaven.com.au, ‘but most importantly, just taking ourselves seriously in the first instance would be a good start.
‘Until we do that, no one else is going to take us seriously. If we don’t respect what we do, and the opportunity that we have, we won’t produce anything that will demand a lot of the likes of the All Blacks in Tokyo. I understand and appreciate the importance of a win. But it starts with us.’
Deans added that his players need to produce a quality performance and not just play with confidence.
‘Personally, I think confidence is overrated. I think a toughness and a resilience is more important. It is not about how you feel, it is about what you do.’
The Wallabies will have two weeks to prepare for the end-of year tour after their Test against the All Blacks. Although the squad will be trimmed, Deans made it clear that every player has an equal opportunity to make the touring party, and will still have a role at a later stage if they do not make the cut.
‘This is the start to the future. This group have the first opportunity to stake a claim. All of the 43 that have been named are there because we are considering what they offer to us,’ he said.
‘There will be elements of giving them the background because any one of them could get a call, if they are not successful in the first instance, at a later date.’