Is it time to bring in the rugby friendly?
Last gasp drama as Wallaby Mike Harris scored the winning points after the final siren against Wales (AAP Image/Joe Castro)
As the dust settles on the June Tests and the Wallabies head back to their respective Super XV teams most fans will be well and truly satisfied with the clean sweep over current Six Nations champions Wales.
Wales has been the dominant Northern Hemisphere side for the last twelve months.
If not for a little misfortune, they could have easily played the All Blacks in the World Cup final last year.
The result for the Wallabies is something they can be very proud about.
The Aussies won all three Tests against a determined and skilful opponent.
All three matches were played in slightly different styles, which will be most pleasing for Robbie Deans.
These results will have most fans feeling pretty confident going into the Rugby Championship later this year, but the Welsh-series clean sweep can not gloss over the Test loss to Scotland in Newcastle earlier this month.
Not a single member of the Wallaby set up will be making excuses for that loss.
Scotland simply played better on the night and deserved the win.
All this aside, questions need to be asked regarding the scheduling of the Scotland match.
Of the three SANZAR nations Wales were arguably the toughest opponent to play during the June Test window.
Yet Australia were the only side to fit a mid-week Test three days after a Super Rugby round and four days before the first Welsh test.
In principle I do not have a problem with the match against Scotland.
Weather aside, I believe it was a fantastic opportunity to take the game to a non-traditional rugby region in Newcastle.
My problem with the Scotland game is that it was given Test status. From the moment the match was squeezed into the Wallaby schedule, it was quite clear the home wouldn’t be able to produce a full-strength team.
As a rugby purist, I want to see the best 15 players take the field for every Test and do whatever it takes to win the game.
Test Match rugby is the pinnacle and it doesn’t seem right that players are earning caps in mid week games when clearly better players are resting up for bigger games.
Surely the honour of representing their country would be enough for these ‘fringe’ players?
Surely this would give them a taste of bigger things and drive them to be better?
Surely this would add to the desire to be a Test player for Australia and earn that cap, because no one is better than you?
The Scottish team will travel back home and read the press that they beat the Wallabies in a Test match, but did they beat the best we could offer.
Deep down inside, the Scotland players know they didn’t defeat the best players Australia.
They may be asking themselves ‘did I earn that cap?’
Rugby tends to be so stubborn that it refuses to copy something that works well for soccer.
But the IRB and the rugby community as a whole need to sit down and come up with something better.
As the second-tier nations close the gap, the need for more international rugby will be greater. Yet this will not be sustainable for our top players.
Rugby needs to ask itself a question: is it time to bring in the friendly?
Wallabes vs Wales - Scott Allen's match highlights -