Diatribe 2

  1. Western Force

    By Rob Martin

The farce just had to come to this conclusion. “Let’s get rid of the Force, it’s much better to have Rugby in Melbourne”. Never mind the flow of Wallabies that have started to flow into Australias international stocks out of this system. Never mind the financial and public support that they get in the City of “Where the hell is Perth again??” Certainly living over here gives one a decent perspective on living remotely and as a 7th class entity behind the other states and territories. There’s a hell of a lot of nothing over here but there’s also a hell of a lot of heart and soul when it comes to getting behind its sporting teams that are expected to under-deliver due to the small population and distance from anything. The ARU could learn a lot from Perths sporting pedigree in many disciplines from Baseball, Cricket and AFL (We might just forget the sojourn into Rugby League… he he) and how to mould and develop a mad a loyal following and produce some good performances on the field. Sure the force never looked like tittle contenders, but it produced plenty of Wallabies and was known as a team that was not easy to tip for anyone visiting. I don’t think there will be any back tracking on this, but for sure there is a consequence. The executives pulling the pin have gotten out of it basically scot-free leaving behind a trail of shattered dreams, displaced personnel and an increasingly disinterested public. What were they thinking? What are (or were) the answers to the mess that was (and is) super 18. It seems that contractually, they were painted into a corner in Victoria (I am not privy to any actual facts) and it was just a matter of slipping the shank into the Force slowly without actually looking them in the eye. There have been many good ideas put around for the changing of the format, but it might be that there’s time for a complete change and to start afresh. The Jaguares were a success, in my mind, the Sun wolves a failure. South Africa has readily given up the extra team it demanded after seeing what was happening in their own back yard. That is a telling point. When did they ever roll over and let something like this happen? They saw  the writing on the wall and were happy to bail. They, at least, had a plan and were able to get those two teams into a Northern Hemisphere Tourney that will add diversity to the experience of all who play in it. Why couldn’t the Rebels play in the NPC as part of a relegation type scenario?? (Apart from the obvious issue of having all the NPC teams baying with pleasure at the prospect of putting them to the sword)

  1. Women’s World Cup

Is it just me, or did I witness the final humiliation leading into the Bledisloe cup with the Wallaroos capitulating without aa squeak at the Women’s RWC?  48-0 after getting dealt to by the Irish earlier in the week. I was not expecting this as the Women’s teams seemed to be at least a small light at the end of the tunnel in Australian Rugby. It appears that light was the train of reality screaming down at them from the other direction instead. OH woe…..

  1. Finding a Bug

Now as part of the “Spin Doctor” segment we could look at how they (the media) are dragging this non event out into their cold and clammy hands to dish up more tripe ahead of the next Bledisloe Cup challenge. This is firmly in my “who cares” set of files, just underneath the pile of stuff I really couldn’t give a toss about. It is worth mentioning my antipathy as it’s in the news and therefore I’ll get my cold clammy hands on it too.

  1. Rugby Championship
    1. Bledisloe Cup – round #1
      1. New Zealand – one cannot discount how disappointed I am at the omission of Dane Coles. He’s a one headed Wallaby Wrecking ball and will be missed. His replacements are not shabby and should be fine. There’s a lot of talk about using the abject Lions failure as fuel for these tests. I am not so sure. I worry about complacency in the All Blacks with them perhaps thinking that Australian Rugby is done. This could lead the way for the renaissance of Cheika and the resurgence of Wallaby Rugby…… Yeah,,, Nah!! I don’t think so either. I worry that the AB’s are about to pile on more abject misery to the tsunami of bad news, poor press and horrible decisions that are Australian Rugby. Hansen has opening his book of tricks and started to clean the cupboards a little. The axing of Julian Savea is not without precedent in New Zealand and I think that, barring injury, he’s done. Remember Rokococo, Howlett, Gear and numerous others that get those AB wing roles and are easily usurped by the up and coming speedsters that are pumped out of the New Zealand turf like orcs in Peter Jackson’s Mordor (or J.R.R Tolkien’s, but the vision Peter gave us is less ethereal if you haven’t read the books). Ben Smith’s sabbatical after two tests is going to be another test of character for this side.
      2. Australia – they’ve had a long time to over think this game. Last time they were in this situation (last year) they were thoroughly tickled up. This is a possibility again.  Kerevi is in the news saying they are looking forward to cleaning up the All Blacks. I do wish they’d just say “It’s time for a good performance” and then back it up. If they do win, he’s a legend, if they don’t, he looks stupid (as all have in the last 15 years for spouting this stuff).  The team looks fine on paper but I doubt it has the belief or skills to put the wounded AB’s to bed. The All Blacks took the Lions series as a total failure, and the Wallabies could learn a lesson or two from this. The Spy bollocks and the Western Force farce will be unwelcome distractions going into this Saturdays match.
      3. Prediction: All Blacks by at least 24
    2. Boks Vs Argies
      1. Boks – this will be a good look into the new Boks as they take on Argentina in the homeland. The France series was impressive and one can only be anticipating this with relish. Argentina is always a handful and remains largely an enigma. Hopefully this year they step up a level and not be the Six Nations Italy of the Rugby Championship.
      2. Argentina – I need to do more work in this area. I guess it’s symptomatic of the nature of this competition and the Super one that the teams not in Aus or NZ are so far away that getting to know them is difficult. We see in the highlights some of the antics and also see them sparingly when they are playing teams from this part of the world. I still feel that Argentina are on the cusp and continue to be. I cannot put my finger on what needs doing to get them up to that next level. Perhaps beaing the Wallabies twice this year might help, but that would have dire consequences elsewhere. But, first cab of the rank are the Yarpies and they’ll not be easy.