Wallabies face Test of character in London

By Russell Jackson, NZ Newswire Updated November 15, 2012, 6:11 pm

A fired-up Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has challenged his side to bounce back against England this weekend and make amends for an inexcusable performance against France.

Deans admits it's been a tough week for the Wallabies who have been accused of lacking character against the French in their humiliating European tour opening 33-6 loss at Stade de France.

Of all the criticism aimed at them during the week, it's having the heart of the side questioned that's really hurt the Wallabies.

"No one enjoys that," Deans said.

"The team has also shown a lot of character along the way and that's where last week's performance was out of character and inexcusable and we've got to get on and address it.

"Last week's performance was poor. I'm making no excuses about that and we've got to address that."

To make Saturday's (Sunday NZT) Test at Twickenham even more challenging, the Wallabies received a triple blow this week with inside centre Pat McCabe (neck) and second-rower Kane Douglas (knee) both ruled out of the England game.

They also lost reserve lock Rob Simmons for the tour after he copped an eight-week ban for his lifting tackle on French flanker Yannick Nyanga, with the Wallabies likely to appeal the severity of the suspension.

"We certainly have a lot of background in these sorts of challenges," Deans said.

"It's more the norm than otherwise and that's the nature of the industry - you've just got to keep going.

"Sure we've lost Tuesday's prep in terms of combinations but it's not the end of the world."

Deans is likely to be forced into flying in two fresh players for the European tour following Simmons' ban, while it's feared Douglas' tour could also be over.

Standby Scott Higginbotham already has his bags packed while Deans has a decision to make on the other player to come in should Douglas not be declared fit for the Italy Test in Florence on Saturday (Sunday NZT) week.

Higginbotham, who the Wallabies say hasn't been given an official call-up yet, is serving a suspension for striking All Blacks' captain Richie McCaw and will be available for Italy.