Precision. Leadership. Advice. How can we improve the Wallabies?

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    Another rugby union Test over and get another round of commentary. Lots of talk of the Wallabies ‘building’ – they seem to be forever building – and plenty of advice for the coach.

    Michael Cheika may well think of Oscar Wilde who wrote: “I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.” So with Wilde ringing in my ears, I enter the fray!

    Leadership seems to be missing in action, and it has been missing for quite a while on the field, off the field and in the boardroom. I suspect the best on and off the field leader may be David Pocock but his integrity is sometimes frightening to others.

    Selections have been, and continue to be, confusing.

    There is a parochialism in Australian rugby that is unhealthy. It flows through to the media and its coverage, when it tends to cloud people’s good judgement.

    We have been talking about fixing the scrums for many a year. I am reminded of a cheerful entry on a Welsh rugby calendar: “Great joy today: we took a tighthead off the scrum machine in injury time!”

    Years ago we were saying that the Australian team has been let down by the scrum. We are still saying it.

    All this talk about passion and aggression confuses the real issue. Playing for your country should mean that there is always passion and controlled aggression, but we need, as John Eales sometimes reminds us in his on-air contributions, precision.

    We need to do the basics very well – scrums, lineouts starts, rucks, passing etc. This is where any sporting team needs to start – with the basics.

    Rugby after all is an intellectual game. Played well is as beautiful as ballet. That must be our focus.

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