A Kiwi’s advice to Wallaby supporters
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Australian Wallabies Robert Horne is tackled during the 2011 Rugby World Cup. AAP Image/AFP, Franck Fife
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Wallaby supporters are indeed a fickle bunch. When they are winning, no other side can match them for pure arrogance.
When they are losing, nobody can match them for the way they self destruct and turn on their coach. They need to learn a lot. They need to learn humility, both in victory and defeat, and accept the fact you can’t win them all.
Here is a list of lessons for the average Wallaby supporter must learn, kindly prepared for you by a Kiwi.
Lesson One: Understand and accept your flaws
One of the major issues with Wallaby supporters is their inability to accept the flaws in their side. I have lost count of the amount of time I have spent in arguments with them over how pitiful their tight five is.
Many Wallaby supporters I speak to seem to rate their scrum #2 or #3 in the world. This is based on flawed logic. Wallaby supporters will argue how can we be rated #2 in the world if our scrum is so bad?
Having the world’s best backline and a rock solid defence is the reason why.
You have a scrum that routinely goes backwards to sides like New Zealand, South Africa, England, Ireland, Wales, Argentina and Italy. When was the last time you heard an Australian side winning a game through a powerful 10 man performance? I can’t remember. However, I sure have seen them lose a few from teams playing a 10 man game against them, exposing the obvious Wallaby flaws.
Its time for Wallaby Supporters to stop believing idiots like Phil Kearns who would have you believe the front row have the three best players in the world in their positions. If you keep endorsing the rubbish you have in your tight five, you will never move forward.
Lesson Two: Great backlines alone don’t win games
Yes, you may have the world’s best halfback in Genia. You may have a flyhalf in Cooper that can bust any backline open with his creativity. You may have the best fullback in the world in Beale. You have stars like Ioane and O’Connor.
Collectively, you have a backline that is the envy of any nation, All Blacks included. But if your forwards are not winning the rucks and mauls and getting smashed in set pieces, the backs will not see enough of the ball to exploit their opponent.
For a team to be great and successful 1 through 15 need to fire. If 9 to 15 dominate, yet 1 to 8 are dominated, don’t expect to create a dynasty.
Lesson Three: The coach is not always to blame
One of the great things Australians like to do, regardless of the sport, is to slam the coach. They put the players up on pedestals, whether they win, lose or draw, yet they scrutinise the coaches and shove the boot in at every occasion they can.
While the coach can be blamed for some things like a game plan or player selections, he should not be held accountable when players fail to execute the game plan or when players don’t perform.
Take the semi final versus the All Blacks in the World Cup. Was it the coach’s fault to expect his forwards to play with the ferocity they did in Brisbane a few months prior? Was it the coach’s fault to expect Genia and Cooper to play to their abilities?
After that game the vultures descended, to pick at the coach’s bones. However there was hardly a murmur about the downright sad and pathetic effort of every Australian forward that day. The passion and intensity they showed in Brisbane was left there.
Already the same vultures have begun circling, even before the international season has begun. Despite winning the Tri-Nations and retaining the Mandela Challenge Plate last season, the knives are ready to be plunged into Deans back without the team having played a game this season.
Lesson Four: Look at the bigger picture
The average Wallaby for all intensive purposes is a very short sighted creature. He tends to transfix himself on one result. This seems to be the World Cup semi final at the moment. So you lost to the All Blacks in New Zealand. Newsflash, 95% of opponents have lost to New Zealand at home in Graham Henry’s reign.
I see very little from Wallaby supporters saying how great it is to have won the Tri Nations or how great it is that they have such dominance over South Africa now.
Very little is done to acknowledge how a team that was literally rebuilt from scratch in 2008 is now a clear number two side in the world. In 2008 if you said to a Wallaby Supporter they would be clear second favourites for the world cup in 2011, you probably would have been laughed at.
Sure, the All Blacks have proven to be a thorn in the side of late to the Wallabies but this is because it is one of the greatest All Black sides ever.
Despite this, Deans has closed the gap. The last four games against the All Blacks have been split 2 a piece yet this is not acknowledged.
If you look at where the Wallaby side is now, compared to any other period in the last decade, you will see it is in a healthier and stronger spot and has the makings of your great sides of 1991 and 1999.
Far more Kiwis can see this than Australians, but then again, we are more astute judges when it comes to rugby.
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