Deans expecting tough Wales challenge
Australia coach Robbie Deans has warned his men not to underestimate the threat posed by Wales on their upcoming tour Down Under.
The Six Nations champions will begin their three-Test tour to the southern hemisphere on June 9 as they take on the Wallabies in Brisbane. A clash with state side ACT follows on Tuesday, June 12, before the real business of the second Test gets underway in Melbourne on Saturday, June 16. The tour is completed seven days later in Sydney and the men in red will be looking to continue the form they showed at the World Cup and in claiming the Grand Slam in the northern hemisphere showpiece. Wales will be under the guidance of caretaker coach Rob Howley due to the injury sustained by Warren Gatland and Deans believes there is an air of confidence about the current Welsh squad which means they will pose a real challenge to the green and gold over the next few weeks. "After winning the Six Nations so impressively, there's no doubt that Wales see this tour as the chance to take the next step," he said. "They were quite vocal about that at the end of the tournament, saying it was time they beat one of the major southern hemisphere nations. "It was also clear, when we were in Cardiff last December for the James Bevan Trophy Test, that they believe that goal is within their reach." Wales, who will play the Barbarians before the tour stars, have not beaten Australia on their own patch since 1969 but Deans feels the current squad are a tight unit who could do some damage in the internationals. "The core of the Welsh squad has been together for a long time, and they are used to being successful," he added. "You only have to look at the settled nature of the squad they have named - there are very few injuries. The players all want to be on this trip. That, in itself, is a statement of their intent."