CAMPO: Australian rugby at the lowest ebb I’ve ever seen it
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The New Zealand All Black's Cory Jane (l) competes for the ball with Will Genia of Australian Wallabies during the Bledisloe Cup rugby union test match (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
On the weekend we saw two teams that were under significant pressure to perform. The Springboks at home lifted their game, knowing how fickle their supporters can be. The Wallabies, on the other hand, were awful.
They are not the team that they could be.
In fact, it was quite frightening to witness, again, just how far Australian rugby has fallen.
Look at the unfortunate attempt at a tackle by the Aussie fullback as an example.
How many Tests has he played? Yet he still put his head directly in front of player lunging for the line to stop him.
I tell the kids that you never put your head in front of another player. It’s a fundamental basic of the game.
He was knocked out as a result. It’s a simple schoolboy error, and I ask why it’s happening at that level?
I would love to know what these guys are doing at training. There seems to be a lack of focus on the basics and the scary fact is that serious injuries can occur as a result.
I cannot stress enough that Australia need to get back to simple, basic rugby. Get someone in there who can instill the team with the fighting spirit they used to have and play for each other.
Cooper has come out and said he doesn’t want to play for the Wallabies because of the ‘toxic environment’ of the camp. That is a fairly alarming comment for us as the public.
It reveals, finally, from a player’s perspective the truth of what is going on behind close doors.
And what a shame.
Cooper is a remarkable talent, yet instead of being nurtured and moulded, he has been hung out to dry by his coach through over exposure to the media, and a lack of discipline and direction.
Players like him don’t come around that often and it looks very much like our opportunity to mould him into greatness has been lost.
Players need to be reminded that it’s about the team, the performance, and all who have gone before them in the jersey. There are too many selfish players in this team and they’re not working hard enough for each other on the field.
And then there’s all the injuries the team have suffered this year. It’s unacceptable.
What are the trainers doing?
Look at the All Blacks, by comparison, who have been through just as much rugby, but with a fraction of the same player problems.
It seems that league is still having far too much influence in Australian rugby. The ex-Leaguies in the game are not helping at all; they’re actually destroying the game.
And Deans has done a very poor job managing his bench, which has contributed to the injury toll. On the weekend, remarkably, it even led to the Wallabies using up their replacements with nearly 10 minutes left on the clock. Schoolboy mistakes.
It all comes back to the truth that there are a lot of problems off the field, which are starting to come onto the field.
Australian rugby is at the lowest ebb I’ve ever seen it: there is no discernible pattern of play, we have two centers who don’t pass the ball, and we don’t play as a team.
Deans may as well send out 15 forwards to smash the ball up, such is the lack of impact the backs are having.
We need to get someone in there to inspire the team, to talk about Australian rugby, its history, and how we won two World Cups.
The players have clearly had enough with the current set-up. There’s no spirit, no heart and no inspiration there. They just don’t care.