Is this rugby’s new era or another false dawn?

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    So for the first time in eight test matches the Wallabies got one back against the All Black:s in Brisbane on Saturday night. It wasn’t always pretty, it wasn’t ‘a test match played in heaven’, but by God it was still a bloody good time.

    I’ve previously discussed that I feel Cheika and the Wallabies had been haunted by post-World Cup events.

    Last year England arrived on our shores fresh from being crowned European champions but also having the demons of touring a nation that had comprehensively embarrassed them at their own World Cup. Eddie Jones, a past Australian coach and a man with a plan, dismantled both Micheal Cheika and the Wallabies in a way that left them scarred, unsure and reluctant to play their game plan.

    The difference this time, however, was that it wasn’t the culture but the confidence and mentality of the team that led to the disaster of 2016 and into this year’s awful Super Rugby season.

    Many Australian rugby fans have wondered over the past two years, and what we thought of 2015 as a renaissance for Australian rugby was that it was simply just another in a long line of false dawns.

    Jon Connelly 2006, various stages throughout Dingo Dean’s tumultuous reign, the McKenzie 2013 spring tour revival and of course 2015 and the run to the World Cup final – the persistent theme here is short-term brilliance but long-term mediocrity.

    There are countless reasons for this pattern both on and off the field. No one article could ever truly give justice to covering the whole problem. However, I do think the main problem across all these teams has been a lack of both proper team culture and hard-man management.

    (Image: Jason O’Brien/Getty Images)

    Many people have legitimate grievances with Micheal Cheika as national coach. He has a tendency to lash out unjustly in press conferences, his demeanour can come off as narcissistic and his selections are definitely his Achilles’s heel.

    But in all of that, he is a leader of men and has the team committed to playing for him. He has, at least to me, achieved full command of his own ship for the first time since Rod Macqueen was the coach. A bit like Jack Sparrow charting a course with his lucky compass, Cheika is hoping to take his team on a voyage of discovery and glory, and he has everyone in on the idea.

    Against the All Blacks on Saturday night and over the past six games now this is exactly what I’m seeing. There is no denying a new hunger and confidence in this team. Five matches unbeaten for the first time since the Rugby World Cup, I highly doubt anyone would have thought that possible going into the spring tour in 2017.

    If anything, this is more testament to Cheika as coach after the laughing stock that was the Super Rugby season. From a group of vastly underperforming players, he has managed to somehow make us look like a competitive and vastly improved international outfit.

    The Barbarians, Japan and Europe await and are very important to truly judge any progress. Matches against England and Scotland will be particularly telling, but I truly think Cheika and his assistants are onto something here and they know it.

    Ultimately only time will tell if this is a new era or another false dawn.

    As for Chuckles, 2016 will always be a blight in his tenure as coach, but somehow I get the feeling he may be remembered more fondly by his critics in years to come.

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    The Crowd Says (9)

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 8:28am
      PiratesRugby said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      False dawn.

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 10:49am
      Working Class Rugger said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

      It’s progress. That’s enough. We have improved a lot but still have a lot more to go. I’ll start to get excited when we win back the Bledisloe.

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 12:31pm
      Tooly said | October 23rd 2017 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

      It’s neither its steady progress and hope .
      The game plan has changed a bit with some sensible kicking from Genia , Foley and Beale . The lightweight backrow is working and if McMahon stays we don’t play Pocock’s game and don’t need him .
      Hodge has become a really good player , Beale has helped lift Folau , Kuridrani is switched on , Genia is brilliant , Dempsey and Tui have been good finds , Coleman is progressing as are Alaatoa and Sio , McMahon is awesome and Chekko has found a way to put a team around Foley and Hooper that uses their assets and covers their weaknesses .
      England and Ireland will test them the ABs were not on song on defence in the forwards they have some posers who are not up to standard .
      Well done Chekko , Larko , Micko , Natho , Lesmo and all the players I certainly doubted you !

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 12:51pm
      Cliff (Bishkek) said | October 23rd 2017 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

      They have started to put some consistency into their games but then let themselves down with the drawn games against the Bokkies. This is my concern.

      On Saturday, the Wallabies won and congrats to them for a good game. But we must remember, the ABs had several Front Line players out. But the Wallabies applied pressure and the ABs did not handle it well or maybe the conditions well. But the ABs were still in the game with 5 minutes to go.

      I am not convinced. The Wallabies are definitely not where they should be. The back row played exceptionally well and they must string games together with the same intensity. My concern is that they are too light and too small to deliver consistently. This is our weak point. Strengthen that and the consistency may come. Twelve (12) is still a weak point. Kurtley is not the long term answer. His tackling is a concern as is his consistency. Foley is not the answer to 10 for the RWC. Folau in attack great but Folau in positional play and defence – woeful irrespective of the number of tries.

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 1:02pm
      Marto said | October 23rd 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

      We thrashed the All Blecks in Sydney in 2015 by a bigger margin…False dawn….

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 1:15pm
      johan louw said | October 23rd 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

      One win and here we go again about how good we are.

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