Embattled Australia coach Deans is under intense scrutiny due to a roller-coaster season that reached its nadir with last weekend’s 33-6 defeat by France.
England are the next assignment on their European tour and Australia great Campese would accept the hosts retaining the Cook Cup if it meant Deans is fired.
“The criticism is fair under the circumstances. We’re not happy with our performance either, so it’s understandable,” Deans said. “People are entitled to their opinion. It’s part of the territory. It’s great that David’s passionate about the game still and particularly the Wallaby jersey. But I really don’t want to comment any further. Every week there’s pressure, that’s what living in this arena is. It’s not about me, it’s about the team and helping them do what they do.
“This year has been an extraordinary year. There’s been a lot of adversity and some challenges to overcome. Along the way the side has shown its character but last weekend we didn’t. If you’re going on our game against France, absolutely I understand the criticism of the way we’re playing,” he said. “But we’ve also played some unprecedented rugby in the last couple of years.”
Winger Digby Ioane returns for tomorrow’s Cook Cup clash with England at Twickenham as one of four changes to the side blitzed by France. Chris Ashton is back to haunt Australia after being recalled to the England side. His inclusion on the right wing, with Charlie Sharples switching to the left in place of Ugo Monye, is the only change to the England side that beat Fiji 54-12.
Meanwhile, Kieran Read will captain New Zealand for the first time when the All Blacks tackle Italy tomorrow.
The 27-year-old takes over from Richie McCaw, who has been granted a rest after playing in the tour opener against Scotland last week. Beauden Barrett adds a play-making dimension from fullback in the absence of the injured Israel Dagg.
ENGLAND (v Australia, Twickenham, tomorrow, 2.30pm): A Goode; C Ashton, M Tuilagi, B Barritt, C Sharples; T Flood, D Care; J Marler, T Youngs, D Cole, T Palmer, G Parling, T Johnson, C Robshaw (capt), T Waldrom.
Replacements: D Paice, D Wilson, M Vunipola, J Launchbury, T Wood, B Youngs, O Farrell, M Brown.
AUSTRALIA: B Barnes; D Ioane, A Ashley-Cooper, B Tapuai, N Cummins; K Beale, N Phipps; B Robinson, T Polota Nau, B Alexander, S Timani, N Sharpe (capt), D Dennis, M Hooper, W Palu.
Replacements: S Moore, J Slipper, S Kepu, R Samo, L Gill, B Sheehan, M Harris, D Mitchell.
ALL BLACKS (v Italy, Rome): B Barrett; H Gear, C Smith, M Nonu, J Savea; A Cruden, A Smith; T Woodcock, K Mealamu, C Faumuina, A Williams, B Retallick, L Messam, S Cane, K Read (capt).
Reserves: D Coles, W Crockett, B Franks, S Whitelock, V Vito, T Kerr-Barlow, D Carter, C Jane.