Wallabies lose and the excuses begin
Wallabies' David Pocock
Before the ink was dry on newspapers reporting the Wallabies’ loss to Scotland, the whinging began. “It was the wind”; “it was too cold”; “too wet”; “there wasn’t a long enough rest after the weekend”; “we need an Australian coach, not a Kiwi”; and so on.
The torrent of complaints and excuses following Scotland’s hard-won victory over the Wallabies in a wintry Newcastle last night has been as heavy and relentless as the rain that fell on Hunter Stadium.
The fact is that Australia were out-muscled, out-manoeuvred and out-played by the better team on the night. The plaudits should be heaped upon the Scots for a valiant win, in what were atrocious conditions.
However, I don’t think that the weather can be really used as an excuse. From where I was watching, in the comfort of my lounge room, I couldn’t see individual storm clouds following only the Australians. The Scots played in the same conditions.
As for suggesting that the Scots would be more used to these conditions, I would counter by saying that the Australians regularly play away games in NZ, a country with a similar climate to Scotland. Besides, it does also get cold and rainy in Australia in winter too, and take into account the members of the Scottish team that hadn’t toured here before may even have been looking forward to a bit of warm weather and sunshine.
Theirs is a nation that has been brought up enviously watching the perpetual sunlight of Home and Away, they probably had more of a shock from the weather than the Australians did last night.
As for the lack of a rest after the weekend, the turnaround is only marginally worse than the non-tier one nations had to contend with at last year’s World Cup. Yes, they complained, rightly so, but they got on with their games and in some cases gave the big boys (with their seven days rest) some scares.
And when did the Scots arrive in Australia from the UK? I’m not sure when they did – hopefully someone reading may be able to supply the date – but having travelled that journey a few times I’ve usually still been suffering the effects of jet-lag weeks later.
And I didn’t have to front up to an international test while feeling that way. No, the Scots were probably still not 100% over their flight, and so, I think that we could compare their state to the Australians’ lack of rest time and maybe ascertain that both teams were likely to be handicapped in some way last night.
Finally, the subject of the coach: a Kiwi. It has often been said of Robbie Deans that he doesn’t have Australian interests at heart. I’ve even seen it implied by some conspiracy theorists that he’s deliberately dismantling the Wallabies at the behest of New Zealand Rugby.
While having an overseas coach leading any national team is always likely to be a contentious issue for some, it’s worth remembering who it was that masterminded Scotland’s victory last night: Andy Robinson.
And while there is some antagonism between New Zealand and Australia, which usually only ever manifests itself in a bit of banter about national stereotypes, it is nothing compared to the rivalry between the Scots and English. Theirs is the oldest international sporting rivalry in the books.
There have even been wars fought between the two nations for crying out loud.
So, while the loss to a team ranked 12th by the IRB will smart – and for what it’s worth, I really do think that the Australian media puts too much emphasis on rankings, but then that’s a topic for another article – I think that it’s probably time to congratulate the Scots on their victory, move on, and look forward to what the Welsh may bring.
Sport, all day long. Does this sound too good to be true? We're searching for a Group Sales Manager to lead our team in Sydney. If you're a sales star who doesn't mind a hit, kick, throw, or cycle, we want to hear from you. Apply now.