Get the legends back in the game
Nick Farr-Jones and David Campese at 1991 RWC. AAP Images
Who is arguably the best player to have pulled on the gold of the Wallabies in the last century? John Eales? Stephen Larkham? David Campese? Nick Farr-Jones? Tim Horan?
I would hope that many of you could agree with me that Mark Ella is probably the greatest player to have played for the Wallabies in the last century.
He was one of the greatest proponents of running rugby to ever pull on a jersey. Mark, along with Larkham, were two of the best playmakers this country has ever produced.
Even after his retirement Larkham is making a splash – look what happened when Jake White and Larkham came together at the Brumbies. They went from cellar dwellers to the edge of the finals in one season.
I think the emergence of Lealiifano is down to the mentoring he received from Larkam. I think Lealiifano will only continue to get better under the tutelage of “Bernie”.
With the current state of Australian rugby, I think it’s time to send an SOS to Mark Ella. Can you imagine if the Wallabies fly halves were being mentored by the best fly half Australia has ever produced?
Imagine Mark Ella being the Wallabies backs coach imagine the things Mark could do with players like Digby Ioane, Kurtley Beale and James O’Connor.
Perhaps he could even create some magic from Quade Cooper and Berrick Barnes. The Wallabies forwards have never been dominant in international rugby, so perhaps Ella could teach our fly halves how to deal with it.
If he was not interested in coaching the Wallabies, perhaps a grass roots program would tickle his fancy, the sort that Campese has attempted to create. Imagine the next generation of Australian running fly halves mentored and coached by Mark Ella.
I get chills even imagining it.
I think it is a crying shame that one of the greatest rugby minds of our century is no longer contributing to Australian rugby.
I understand if he is doing this by choice but surely if it was even remotely possible, mountains should be moved to allow such an inspirational and legendary player back into the fold.
Mark could help the Wallabies back to the top of the rugby world.
On a another note, it is a crime that the ARU is making it so difficult for Campese to pass on his experience and enthusiasm for the game onto the next generation. So difficult in fact that he has no choice but to go abroad and help other nations expand their rugby.
Campese and Ella were the legends I grew up hearing about, my father telling me stories of these guys making something from nothing and pulling wins from the jaws of defeat.
These are the guys that made me want to play rugby.
Not only would these two legends bring huge levels of experience and help to the players they coached they would also bring much needed publicity to a sport starved of exposure.
Mark Ella, Stephen Larkam and David Campese should be in a coaching capacity in Australia at some level as these ex-players have so much to offer to the next generation.