SYDNEY - New Zealand are pinning their hopes on Australia beating South Africa to keep alive their hopes of retaining the Tri-Nations.
The All Blacks stayed in the hunt with a nailbiting 19-18 win over Australia on Saturday but know their chances will be over before they even play again if the South Africans win their next two matches against the Wallabies.
"We need the Aussies to get up in the next two Tests," New Zealand coach Graham Henry told reporters yesterday. "And I think they're good enough to do the job, they just need to have that rub of the green I suppose. Hopefully they can do that and that gives us a sniff."
The Australians are also holding out hope of winning the title despite losing their first three matches of the yearly series.
They are bottom of the standings with two points, with South Africa on 12 and New Zealand on eight but having played a game more.
The Australians flew out of Sydney on Sunday bound for Perth, where they will host the Springboks next week. The sides will meet again in Brisbane a week later.
Deans said the Australians would have to quickly get over the disappointment of their loss to New Zealand if they hoped to upset the South Africans, who won their first three matches of the series at home after beating the British and Irish Lions 2-1.
The Wallabies led New Zealand 12-3 at half time on Saturday and were still in front with less than two minutes to go when they conceded a late penalty that Dan Carter converted to seal the All Blacks' narrow win.
"I'd like to think there's no moping, no self pity, because we had an opportunity and that's the nature of not only the industry of the game but life," Deans said. "It's not a rehearsal. You give it your best shot and you get up and dust yourself off and keep going. If you lie around and mope then it's like waving the white flag. I don't think there'll be any of that."
Carter was playing his first Test this year after rupturing his Achilles during an ill-fated sabbatical in French club rugby but performed as though he had never been away. The flyhalf calmly kicked the match-winning penalty in front of 80000 people moments after fluffing a drop goal attempt. - Reuters