Why so many are right to be angry with the Wallabies

David Lord Columnist

By , David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    There are many valid reason why those of us who have been following the Wallabies for over 50 years are criticising the current crop and can’t say anything good about them.

    ‘Criticising?’ Pissed off would be more accurate.

    The standouts over 50 years have been the 1963 Wallabies in South Africa, the 1984 Grand Slammers, the 1991 and 1999 Rugby Wold Cup successes, and the series win over the British and Irish Lions in 2001.

    Each one of those sides had inspirational captains, key Wallabies who set the performance bar for the rest of the team and inspiration coaches.

    In 1963 it was John Thornett and Ken Catchpole who were the inspiration to square the series 2-2 in South Africa, to that point the best ever result against the Boks.

    The Wallabies had prop Jon White, hooker Peter Johnson, lock Rob Heming, flanker Greg Davis, and among the backs Phil Hawthorne.

    The 1984 Grand Slam tour beating England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales was historic and comprehensive with mercurial Mark Ella scoring a try in every international.

    Captained by Andy Slack and coached by Alan Jones, the forwards were led by world class props Topo Rodrigues, and Andy McIntyre, with Simon Poidevin, and Steve Williams, while Nick Farr-Jones, David Campese, and Brendan Moon were standouts among the backs.

    Farr-Jones led the Wallabies to the 1991 Rugby World Cup success over England, coached by Bobby Dwyer.

    What a team that was with Campese again to the fore alongside Tim Horan. The front row was one of the best of all time with Tony Daly, Phil Kearns, and Ewen McKenzie, with Poidevin outstanding. Next to him was a 19-year-old John Eales who was set to become a Wallaby legend.

    It was Eales who led the Wallabies to win the 1999 Rugby World Cup, demolishing France in the final.

    Mentored by the most successful Wallaby coach in history Rod Macqueen, Horan was again outstanding with Matt Burke and Joe Roff, while up front David Giffin, Owen Finegan, and Richard Harry showed the way.

    And basically the same leaders knocked over the British and Irish Lions 2-1, with Justin Harrison in sight of full time by winning a critical lineout on the Lions ball to clinch the historic win.

    Of the current crop only Michael Hooper as player, certainly not as captain, and Israel Folau are genuinely world class.

    Israel Folau Wallabies Australian Rugby Union 2017

    (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

    But where the current Wallabies leave themselves open to being shot at, the rest of the team are playing well below their natural ability.

    Sure it’s not as high as the names I’ve mentioned above, but there’s absolutely no excuse for them to be lowering their own standards.

    And what makes it so bloody awful to watch is they have one gear, and if that doesn’t work, the Wallabies are stuffed.

    It’s a genuine problem, so there’s no captain in their midst, a vital ingrediant to success, especially on an off game like Scotland last Saturday.

    The other question that has yet to be answered has coach Michael Cheika no Plan B or C. Or are the Wallabies too highly paid for no rugby brains to follow the coach’s instructions?

    Whatever the reason, the current crop is in danger of dropping from third to sixth in the world rankings.

    And if that doesn’t stir the Wallabies into action against Italy on Saturday at Suncorp, they have no right to wear the coveted gold jersey.

    It’s as simple as that.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles