Super fans should be grateful but Wallabies fans should be scared
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With the Super Rugby competition beginning tonight, Australian fans must be salivating at the prospect of seeing some tries and running rugby.
Although the June tests were tense, with late penalties sealing wins, they couldn’t be said to be particularly entertaining. Although the Wallabies showed that they can be consistent and close out tight games, the glaringly obvious point from these Tests was that New Zealand is still number one by a country mile.
In light of their third Test demolition of Ireland, Wallaby supporters should be concerned about the upcoming Rugby Championship. Australian Super Rugby supporters should consider themselves lucky.
The Wallabies bounced back from the Scotland anomaly and deserved to beat Wales in the Test series. Beating the Six Nations champions, even on home soil, is no mean feat so the Wallabies should take some confidence from the Tests and reassure themselves that they are the second best team in international rugby.
While they are number two, its a distant second. Any thoughts that New Zealand would slack off after winning their second World Cup have been proven incorrect. The second test was close, and you weren’t human if you didn’t feel for Brian O’Driscoll after the game, but the way the All Blacks came back in the third Test shows that they are the team to beat.
The Kiwis were allowed to slack off in one match this year – the second Test was that match. This means there’ll be no such complacency in the Rugby Championship. Steve Hansen will ensure that.
New Zealand will keep their killer edge and the Wallabies will have their work cut out if they have any chance of getting close to them.
Although the Wallabies should be worried about the Kiwis form, fans of the Australian Super Rugby teams should be grateful because without the conference system it seems like not one team would have made the finals. Judging the countries by their June Test outings, the New Zealand teams would take all six final spots, even though there are only five of them.
One Australian team is guaranteed a spot, and might have two, but the Kiwis are so dominant it would be difficult to see an Australian team making the finals if the conference system didn’t exist. By playing teams in the local conference twice, Australians are insulated from the strength of the New Zealand pool. Because of this, local fans should be thrilled – not about the Australian team’s chances, but that the ARU successfully lobbied for the conference system.
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