Deans has eyes on final

Coach Robbie Deans takes charge of his final Super 14 game today. (AFP)

Coach Robbie Deans will be a man with a foot in two camps when he leads the Crusaders, for the last time, into today's Super 14 rugby final against the Waratahs.

The Christchurch match will be Deans' last in charge of the Crusaders before he leaves New Zealand to become Australia's national coach, having forged the most successful record of any coach in the history of Super rugby.

Since 2000, Deans has led the Crusaders to seven finals and four titles, and now seeks to end that career with his fifth and the team's seventh championship.

Deans admitted he had given no thought to his imminent departure for Australia but had concentrated solely on the Crusaders' buildup to their 10th final.

"I'm not interested in anything beyond the game right now," he said. "I've been in this game long enough now to know the realities of it. To that end, I'm very focused on the match and nothing beyond."

The Waratahs have also attempted to divorce Deans' Wallabies role from the immediate imperative of pursuing their first Super 14 title in their second finals appearance. They lost to the Crusaders in 2005 at Christchurch.

"I don't think anyone's thought two or three days past today," said Waratahs captain Phil Waugh, echoing Deans. "At the moment he's coaching the Crusaders and we've come here to beat the Crusaders. He's the enemy I guess at the moment and we've come here to beat his team."

The Waratahs will enter today's final as underdogs but are not downplaying their chances. "We obviously completely respect the Crusaders' history and what they've done and the fact they've led from the front the whole season," said coach Ewen McKenzie.

 

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