IF the reaction Wallabies coach Robbie Deans received in Orange yesterday afternoon is any indication, he can be assured of holding Australian rugby’s top post for many seasons to come.
Primary school students from Orange participated in a rugby sevens tournament at Endeavour Oval, with the only thing capable of diverting their focus the arrival of the New Zealand native.
Deans was mobbed within moments of arrival, with requests for autographs and photos stalling the Wallabies mentor’s bid to watch the action for 30 minutes.
There has been almost continuous speculation regarding Deans’s performance at the national team’s helm, particularly since an underwhelming effort at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
Wallaby legend David Campese, among other Australian rugby identities, openly questioned the Kiwi native’s performance.
But the city’s rugby faithful yesterday showed their allegiance for Deans, sentiments he was more than happy to reciprocate.
“I’m always happy to be here,” Deans said of Orange.
“It’s great to be with rugby people no matter where you are. They’re always friendly and welcoming.
While the decision to travel to Orange was not in his hands, Deans was only too happy with the result.
“The ARU (Australian Rugby Union) has sent our coaching staff across the state today,” Deans explained.
“I was told I was coming to Orange and was thrilled. It’s a great place with a great rugby community.”
As part of his visit Deans last night conducted a clinic for the region’s senior coaches - those plying their trade in both the Blowes Clothing Cup and Australian National Field Days premierships
Deans was more than happy to leave the content of the session in his pupil’s hands.
“I’m happy to help them wherever they decide they need help,” Deans said.
“I guess it’s a chance to impart some knowledge and drills to them in areas where they deem necessary.”