CAMPO: Where is Australian rugby heading?
107 Have your say
Australian rugby union player Ben Robinson, ARU chief executive John O'Neill and SANZAR CEO, Greg Peters. AAP Image/Paul Miller
It’s concerning hearing all the talk about the ARU wanting to control the coaches in Australian rugby. Things haven’t gone their way, but they are still trying to exert their influence everywhere they can.
The latest innuendo about Deans coaching the Waratahs is alarming.
And has the ARU asked the Waratahs players or the Tahs board?
Do the Waratahs really need another coach who has been forced upon them by the ARU? Is that what the board wants? Is that what anyone wants?
And the fans, yes what about the fans who week in, week out support the team? I don’t think that they would be too happy.
So what happens if the team have a another bad year? Who takes responsibility? Are the ARU answerable for this?
As a matter of fact, who are they answerable to?
Let’s face it: the top brass is ruling with an iron fist but they are not using this totalitarian control to appoint the best available coaches.
And what about the Australian U20s and Sevens teams? Did you know we haven’t won the Hong Kong Sevens since 1988 and the last U20 championship in South Africa we came nowhere.
This is the future of Australian rugby.
Why is there no accountability for how poorly they’ve performed and why are the coaches still in business?
And then there’s the ex-Tahs coach who could’t have produced a worse term in office and yet he still gets a new job at the Force.
It reminds me of an old boys system: positions for mates and keeping everything within the network.
And the evidence of the disharmony off the field is now clear on the field. Players are disgruntled and unmotivated and rumours are that they are not a happy camp.
So I would like to see the Tahs get back on top and play the rugby we want them to play.
Rugby has become a political game; not just in Australia (though it’s perhaps more pronounced here), but wherever the great game is played.
People are in positions of influence for the wrong reasons – the money and the power, and most of all, EGOs – not because they genuinely love the game
Look at club rugby: the ARC was a much needed addition to the local rugby itinerary, but O’Neill canned it after just one year. The Currie Cup and the ITM Cup were not born overnight.
It takes time to build tradition and longevity. Not one year. And with this shortsighted approach, we have lost the tradition of local teams and heros, as well as a platform to breed new talent.
Now, apparently, we give Deans four games after five years of disappointment to see if he can show us he is up to the job. I wonder how many CEOs and board members would allow one of their top execs more chances after five years of losses?
I’d really like to know what their plan is.
Centralising rugby worked in New Zealand because it is a rugby mad country and because it’s been going for decades.
The sad reality is that in this professional era, winning to some sportsman isn’t everything. It’s just another day.
We want to see passion, pride, commitment and players who play for each other as a team – on and off the field.
Am I asking too much? Maybe.
I laughed to myself when I read Bob Dwyer say that the problem is that the basic skills are not great in Australia. Hmmm, sounds quite similar to something I have been saying for about ten years now.
We all deserve better.
Let’s hope that somebody is listening enough to start taking steps to get this once great sport back to were it should be.
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