Hawker defends Wallabies coach

11 December 2012 20:06

Australian Rugby Union chairman Michael Hawker has defended coach Robbie Deans after an indifferent 2012 season for the Wallabies.

Australia finished second in the inaugural Rugby Championship this year, losing home and away against New Zealand and suffering a heavy defeat in South Africa.

Under Deans' watch, Australia also went down at home to Scotland in an embarrassing loss and were beaten heavily by France, but Hawker has insisted Deans is the right man to lead the team into next year's eagerly anticipated home series with the British and Irish Lions.

"I think for coaches every year is make or break," Hawker said on Tuesday.

"That's the nature of coaching. I don't think Robbie takes anything for granted.

"For us, I think everyone in the Australian public is pretty keen to win all the games.

"So is Robbie, and he'll do the best he can to do that. In the board's view we've got every chance of defeating the Lions next year.

"... Next year is a huge year. (The Lions tour) always creates a huge wave of anticipation in this country, seeing the best of the northern hemisphere come here.

"We're pretty keen to try and thump them."

Australia have been without the likes of Will Genia, Quade Cooper, James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale through injury at different times this season, something Hawker used to justify the inconsistent performances.

"From the Australian Rugby Union we're happy with where the Australian team is," he said.

"We'd like to have less injuries and I think if didn't have as many injuries we'd have been right up the top.

"You've got to put the Wallabies performance in context with how many injuries we've had.

"We've had 55 people play for the Wallabies this year which is a pretty broad number of players and so we've had an unusual level of injury rate."

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