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Dublin: 20 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2020
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It's not all about expansive rugby against Ireland says Leinster-linked Deans

The Kiwi head coach wants his side to ‘take ownership’ of their defence in Limerick.

BARBARIANS COACH ROBBIE Deans stopped well short of promising an open attacking approach from the visitors when he takes on Ireland XV in Thomond Park on Thursday.

The Baa-Baas traditionally play with an expansive game plan and the starting line-up selected today suggests that approach would come easily to the touring club.

Rugby Union - 2013 British and Irish Lions Tour - Barbarians v British and Irish Lions - Hong Kong Stadium Joe Rokocoko is back in the Barbarians squad this week. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

However, in his role as coach Deans stressed the importance of getting the less flamboyant aspects of the game in good working order.

“We want to play some rugby, but we also want to be good at the elements of a game that are routinely at the core of a good rugby team,” the former Crusaders coach said in Adare Manor today.

“Things like taking ownership of your defence. It’s a great team game, rugby, so we want those traits to come through. The guys have bonded well on the field and we want those bonds to be evident on the field.”

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The New Zealander added that a carefree approach would prove little worth as a big stage test for Joe Schmidt’s side.

“We’d like to [play expansively], but we’re pretty conscious that it’s the last thing Ireland would want. They’ve got a lot at stake as individuals. Aside from the fact they’re representing their country, they’re aspiring to the World Cup. So that adds a bit of zip for them.

My team have come together and come together really well. We did a bit of work this morning and I think it looked a bit better at the end than it did at the start so we’ll give it a fair crack.”

The former Wallabies head coach was keen to avoid much talk of his link with the vacant role with Leinster. However, he did say that he was contacted about the position indirectly and reiterated that he is content with his current job at Panasonic Wild Knights.

- Originally posted at 14.30, updated at 21.40.

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Sean Farrell

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