Why I’m betting on Australia to win the next World Cup
The Wallabies try to push towards their line during the first half. (Photo: Paul Barkley/LookPro)
I live in London, so you can imagine the amount of in-your-facing I copped while wearing my Wallabies jersey on Saturday after the Lions beat us.
Although I am gutted we lost – and especially by the way we lost it in the second half after fighting back to 19-16 – I am more confident than ever that we will win the next World Cup.
Why? Well, firstly, I think this loss marks the end of Robbie Deans’ tenure as coach.
When we snagged him, I was ecstatic, as a lot of us were: the greatest provincial coach in the Southern hemisphere, if not the world.
And the Wallabies started well under him.
But his habit of selecting players out of position and losing to inferior teams (Scotland, Samoa and the Lions) because of a lack of preparation really annoys me.
He’s had a fair crack at it and has taken us to second in the world, and I wish him well for the future, but number two to be as far as we can go under him.
Is it too much to expect us to be number one in the world?
Perhaps I was spoiled by growing up in an era of two World Cup wins, of players like David Campese, John Eales, Tim Horan, Jason Little, Nick Farr-Jones, Phil Kearns, Ewen McKenzie, Steve Larkham, Michael Lynagh and Joe Roff – I could go on, but with homegrown talent like that, why should we not expect to be the best?
Secondly, the loss gives Ewen McKenzie two years to solidify the team through consistent selections, fixing the scrums and hiring a kicking coach.
Don’t get me started on place kicking. I know ‘kickers win you games, not lose them’, but in the first Lions Test, we left 14 points on the park. Unacceptable. And I say this as a place kicker who has cost him team matches.
We should have wrapped up the series by the second Test.
Thirdly and finally, we have the players and depth for the first time in at least a decade.
You could say this is thanks to Deans blooding new players, but I also think the state coaches have done a good job. We could be entering another golden era.
Provided we have a stable scrum that doesn’t concede penalty after penalty – which should be easier with the new engagement rules from August – and we have more than one kicker in the team, I think the following squad will win us the World Cup:
Loosehead prop: Robinson / Alexander / Sio
Tighthead prop: Kepu / Slipper / Palmer
Hooker: Moore / Tatafu Polota-Nau
Second row: Horwill / Douglas / Pyle / Simmons
Blindside flanker: Mowen / Kimlin / McMeniman
Number 8: Higgers / Palu
Openside flanker: Hooper / Gill
Halfback: Genia / White / Burgess
Flyhalf: Toomua / Cooper
Inside centre: Lealiifano / O’Connor / Godwin
Outside centre: Adam Ashley-Cooper / Kuridrani / Inman
Wing: Folau / Speight / Cummins / Tomane / JOC
Fullback: Mogg / Folau / Beale
Let’s start the future this week. Appoint the new coach(es). And plan how we will win the 2015 World Cup. After Saturday’s performance, those are long odds. But I’m heading off now to place my bet.