ARU head John O’Neill has confirmed that Robbie Deans will lead the Wallabies into the 2011 World Cup.
2009 was an unsatisfactory season for Australian rugby. The Wallabies only managed six wins out of 14 Tests, received the wooden spoon in the Tri-Nations, none of the Australian Super 14 franchises qualified for the semi-finals and there were major concerns over the decline in crowd attendances and television ratings.
The first man to be put under the spotlight was Wallabies head coach Robbie Deans after the Kiwi failed to live up to the hype and high expectations he set after a successful tenure at the Crusaders.
Deans and High Performance manager David Nucifora, however, had a chance to review the 2009 season to the ARU board and O’Neill said they were satisfied with the report.
‘The board were very comfortable and confirmed Robbie in his position through to the World Cup in 2011,’ O’Neill told rugbyheaven.com.au.
O’Neill added that he received a positive response in Europe after the end-of-year tour.
‘I was in Dublin for an IRB meeting and a number of northern hemisphere reps said the way we played in the first 20 to 30 minutes, we could be the team to beat at the World Cup,’ O’Neill said.
After the disappointments of 2009, O’Neill believes the Wallabies will be able to learn from their mistakes and make an improvement this season.
‘The reality is we’ve confronted our demons as a game,’ said O’Neill. ‘We were really open last year in talking about the state of the game, crowd figures, ratings et cetera.
‘The response we’ve had from sponsors, corporate partners and broadcasters has been ”that’s great, that you aren’t trying to hard from the truth and you’ve confronted it”.
‘You don’t want to be in the trough for too long and I think we’re coming out of the trough and 2010 will be the year when we’ve turned the corner.’