When Australian Rugby (RA) determined their first financially profitable Bledisloe Cup match Thursday night at Australian Rules Castle in Melbourne, the motivation was all about the money. AFL followers are more fanatical members of a religious sect than athletic supporters. They dismiss all other oval ball symbols as blasphemers.
So the Wallabies visiting Melbourne’s pagan rugby guys weren’t all about team diversions to the game they play in heaven.
As host of the Men’s World Cup in 2027 and the Women’s World Cup in 2029, RA is trying to entice the NFL folk to drop some Australian dollars and consider putting the bums on seats at games later in the decade.
To market the Wallabies to the wider Australian audience, Thursday night provided a media window into a weekend saturated with the National Rugby League and Aussie semi-final match rules. If a Bledisloe match is played Friday night, Saturday or Sunday, the Wallabies will compete head-to-head with both the NRL and AFL, so rugby won’t be mentioned in Oz.
The bold decision to schedule a Thursday night game in the heart of the NFL was rewarded with the sale of the Docklands Stadium.
It was bitterly disappointing for rugby in Australia, which continues to fight for its existence, as intimidating officials once again dominated the star players in a match both teams were doing their best to play positive rugby.
With unfair decisions on sin boxes, inconsistent ugly penalties, and despite talking all night with every player, why in the last 60 seconds with Australia in charge, referee Matthew Raynal didn’t tell Bernard Foley a touch-kick or else it would be classified as time . Wasting, it would rank as one of international rugby’s most iconic moments in precision refereeing without any sense of the match.
I can only imagine the utter frustration of Wallabies coach, Dave Rainey being forced to pick the 33-year-old Foley. After four seasons in the Japanese rugby club, Foley parachuted onto the starting team.
He has had a long and distinguished career in Super Rugby, winning a championship with the Waratahs, as well as being a World Cup finalist with the Wallabies in 2015. He is well respected in Australia but it is believed that his best days were in the past.
To his credit, Foley’s flawless kick got the Wallabies in touch though his dump of Pete Sammo for what looked like a winning Australian attempt was more advanced than Tom Brady’s pass in American football. While the incomprehensible judicial decision against Foley for wasting time spoiled a great contest, in essence none of this is about Foley.
The crux of Foley’s selection is how the elite player development system that produced some of the greatest creative rugby players of all time has gone out of business.
The No. 10 Golden Shirt breed carries some of the all-time great names like Mark Ella, Michael Lynagh, Stephen Larkham and Matt Giteau. With a slew of talented players like David Knox, Pat Howard and Kurty Beale playing their part, Wallaby’s creative attack on “five eights” – as the chords are called in Australia – has been taken for granted. This year, the Wallabies chose Quad Cooper (34), James O’Connor (32) and Desperate Hope for the Future, Noah Lolisio (22).
Somewhere in the labyrinth of failed decision-making and disastrous leadership in the devastating decade after hosting the 2003 World Cup, the philosophy and great technical training that drove the education of many of the Great Five was dismantled by foolish decisions from small-minded administrators within Australia. the system.
Across the trench in New Zealand, the exact opposite happened.
After the great ‘first five’ kick Grant Fox passed his No.10 black jersey on brilliance Andrew Mertens, New Zealand rugby made a conscious decision to focus on teaching their arms in the technical and tactical disciplines of the job.
With their failure at the 2003 World Cup still burning in the hearts of the Kiwis, Dan Carter donned his black jersey and revolutionized New Zealand’s offensive play. Carter was great at running, passing, calculated risk and attacking from depth.
When Aaron Cruden emerged as Carter’s dependable winger, New Zealand Rugby took on the Wallabies’ mantle as the world’s greatest strikers and entertainers.
Having grown up in an excellent Australian system for nearly 40 years as a player and coach, I write these words with true sadness
The kiwi production line, now in full flow, was then created by Beauden Barrett. With Damien Mackenzie as a very talented supporter, they have taken their running game to another level. Today, Richie Muonga has arrived at a mature world with electric speed, footwork, vision and superior skills.
At the same time, Rainey as an Australian coach is forced to go back in history and pick players whose best days have passed.
This mode was created entirely by New Zealand who embraced a national philosophy of playing and training while at the same time actively attacking Australia, so much so that their national philosophy of coaching went the way of the Tasmanian tiger.
Some claim that there were sightings of it, but it became extinct for all practical purposes.
This should be front and center in Irish rugby’s minds as Johnny Sexton enters his final season. Since November 2021 we have seen for the first time an Irish team playing with a national philosophy. The success was exceptional.
The foundation of this system is based on high-quality rugby education that is offered to sub-professional players. At this vital stage of player development, coaches are the teachers and mentors of tomorrow’s international players. At this level, New Zealand and Ireland succeeded, while Australia failed.
Having grown up in an excellent Australian system for nearly 40 years as a player and coach, I write these words with true sadness.
Ahead of next year’s World Cup, Ireland must hope for the best and that Sexton remains healthy while planning for the worst, and that the 37-year-old could suffer an unwanted injury.
While Ireland’s external position is much better than that of the Wallabies, who should be Sexton’s short-term replacement and long-term successor remains unclear.
Joey Carbery’s attacking organization against high-quality international opponents remains in doubt as Kieran Frawley’s selection to tour New Zealand and now with first-class Ireland to South Africa tells us he has a chance at a life of rugby ahead of him.
Unlike Jack Carty, Ross Byrne, Billy Burns, and Harry Byrne, Frawley needs to seize the opportunity with both hands. At six feet three and 98 kilos, if Frawley had been in Sydney, where he was born, he might have run out wearing the gold number 10 in Melbourne last Thursday.
Next November, Ireland needs to pick the trigger, given the 2011 World Cup crisis in New Zealand. On the day of the 2011 final in Oakland, Dan Carter and Aaron Cruden were both injured. Stephen Donald has been called back from a hunting trip to play in a decision. The years of quality training and previous opportunities to wear the black jersey have taught him for his mission. Kick the goal that won the William Webb Ellis Cup.
Ireland should look at the history of offshore development in both Australia and New Zealand. Then plan to be like New Zealand, or fail to plan and end up like Australia.