Lions coming to Australia to strangle the creative Wallaby spirit: Bob Dwyer

The World Cup-winning coach believes current boss Robbie Deans should have selected Quade Cooper in his 25-man squad.

Former Australia coach Bob Dwyer.
Former Australia coach Bob Dwyer.
Image: YouTube screengrab

FORMER WALLABIES COACH Bob Dwyer believes current Australia boss Robbie Deans has made a few strange selections in his 25-man squad to take on the Lions this summer.

Dwyer, who led Australia to a World Cup win in 1991, has questioned Deans’ decision to select only one scrumhalf, Will Genia, and omit versatile back Quade Cooper. Deans declared, when naming his squad, that James O’Connor would be his starting outhalf and added that there should be six additional players called up closer to the three-Test series.

Dwyer, speaking on the Green and Gold podcast, said, “They were let off the hook a bit with a couple of injuries. George Smith’s injury meant they didn’t have to make a decision on him. The surprise is no Quade Cooper… Most of the judges with reputations had Quade [in their squad predictions] and Jesse Mogg is another surprise omission. I suppose it came down to a decision between him and Israel Folau.

The other surprise decision is just the one scrum-half. No Nick White [included] so people are suggesting that it might be Luke Burgess… I saw him play earlier in the season [with Toulouse] and didn’t think he was special at all but perhaps he has done well in recent times.”

Dwyer, who coached at Leicester Tigers in the 1990s, believes the exclusion of ‘massive talent’ Cooper was the biggest of Deans’ selection calls. “It’s the role of the coach to get the most out of talent,” he declared. “Some people don’t work well with some people.”

Robbie Deans has placed his faith in James O’Connor. (©INPHO/Photosport)

He added, “O’Connor’s a very good player and he was in my [predicted] squad and in my 15 but not at outhalf… he’s got at the skills at his disposal — he can run, he can pass and he’s a decent kicker.

Dwyer remarked, “Maybe Robbie is right and I’m wrong and it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong.”

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Turning his attention to Warren Gatland’s touring squad, the 72-year-old proclaimed that he sees Australia as slight favourites. He said:

They will definitely try to restrict our capacity to play. The Welsh have seen for the last umpteen times we’ve played them that if they let this Wallaby team play, they will beat you. That’s not to say we are all attack. We defended excellently against Wales.”

This Lions squad has a distinct Welsh flavour so they will be saying ‘We want to shut them out of the game’… I thought they might have a slight advantage at lock but since that team has been chosen, I don’t think that at all.”

You can listen to the entire podcast and Dwyer interview here>>

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Patrick McCarry

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