Deans looks to lose heavy heart

August 13, 2008 AUSTRALIA coach Robbie Deans has foreshadowed changes to the Wallabies for the first Test against South Africa on Saturday week when he hopes his team will remove the "lingering ache" from their heavy last start loss to New Zealand.
The 30-man squad re-assembled in Sydney, two days prior to their departure for South Africa where they will play Tri-Nations Tests against the world champion Springboks in Durban on August 23 and Johannesburg on August 30.

Full-back Adam Ashley-Cooper and flanker Rocky Elsom are expected to be named in the 28-man touring party, though neither is expected to play in the first Test.

Deans said both were likely to be available for the second Test, while lock James Horwill was hopeful of being right for the first game, despite wearing a protective boot at training in his bid to recover from some bone bruising.

Captain Stirling Mortlock and centre partner Berrick Barnes sat out training with influenza, while winger Lote Tuqiri trained despite a niggling knee condition, which Deans said could ultimately require an arthroscopy.

New Zealander Deans, who spent a week in Christchurch following the Wallabies' 39-10 loss to the All Blacks in Auckland last Saturday week, was looking forward to the challenge of besting the Springboks, but still felt the pain of the heavy defeat by new Zealand.

Asked if he had moved on from that loss Deans said: "Yes, apart from a lingering ache. You don't tend to move on until you get a chance to perform again."

"It was a very good performance by the All Blacks and there were elements that we weren't proud of or happy with but it's not the end, it's not terminal."

With Ashley-Cooper out, Deans will make at least one change to his side, with Drew Mitchell tipped to fill the vacant No.15 jumper.

Second row linchpin Daniel Vickerman could well regain a starting spot after making a full recovery from injury.

Deans is also expected to make a change at blindside flanker where Phil Waugh replaced the injured Elsom last start.

Asked if he intended making any tactical selection changes, "there's likely to be some adjustments, I don't know what they are fully yet myself."

Pressed about whether he was looking at changing his blindside flanker, the cagey coach said yes and smiled, but offered no elaboration.

Deans said his players were enthusiastic and looked in good shape after their brief break.

Tuqiri said the players' - and importantly Deans' confidence was still there despite the drubbing by New Zealand.

"He is quite a positive person and I think it's rubbing off on the boys, it was a pretty positive camp this morning and we put it behind us."

Ashley-Cooper had his first run since surgery was performed on his hand, which was injured when it was trodden on accidentally by New Zealand lock Ali Williams.

"It was a bit of a freak accident. It was supposed to be an eight week injury, but it has turned into a four week injury with surgery," Ashley-Cooper said.

"I will only miss one game, so I'm pretty fortunate."

Ashley-Cooper said the Australians needed to reproduce the desperation displayed by New Zealand in Auckland, where he felt the All Blacks were more physical and produced a better tactical kicking game.