Australian rugby is a bit like one of those small country towns, like Walkabout Creek or Cooper’s Crossing, where everybody knows everybody and where everything stops and everyone turns to stare the moment someone they don’t recognise walks into the pub. It’s not so much that they’re unfriendly, as that they have a natural suspicion of outsiders.
Ironically, Robbie Deans is from such a small town. In fact, the Glenmark rugby club, where Deans played his club career, is located in Omihi, North Canterbury. Omihi is one of those places where being described as a “small town” or even a “village” is a massive compliment. It consists of a rugby ground, tennis courts and a primary school. That’s it. And the surrounding farms, that is. But when Deans went strolling into the small town pub that is Australian rugby, he was treated by many with suspicion because he is an outsider. A Kiwi no less.