Please add Moore, Hanson, Phipps, Foley, Lealifano, AAC, Horne, Fardy, Horwill, Carter to that list WNM (inpo).
Perhaps alone on this site I don't see this period as a loss. What I have seen is the steady disappearance of the fomula-driven game plans being replaced by a less structured fast ruck, quick passing game that was always Rugby. Set pieces are mere restarts, things can be made to happen but the skill, accuracy, pace required of the guerrilla game had been lost. You cannot retrain entire careers, bring thousands of hours of muscle memory undone overnight. Link did quite a good job and it is sad that he let things get out of hand however, if Cheika maintains this momentum (which he should) then things will improve.
If this 'vision' is accompanied by a pragmatic effort to continue to raise the quality (skill, fitness, decision-making) of the players then maybe it will work. I love this game because of what it has meant for the societies that supported it. A training method for leaders and team-builders, a social networking grounding, a builder of integrity, resilience, courage. Rugby is under threat from those who see it purely as a form of entertainment, a product to market, it has much more to offer. It is always the value, the substance, of the (ex) players that is our most profound contribution. Very few things can make that claim, we still can if we see it as a fundamental.
Could not agree more about this and would expand it to any kick outside to red zone - unless the team has an absolute first class kicker and everyone wants them to 'do their thing' then send them back to club. As soon as White made that kick (only about our fourth for the match by the way - new record?) it was over. The ABs just did what they do best, put points on the board, this time, enough.
Travesty? We know enough about Nic to understand that is his default option, he will take a lot of re-education to ever contemplate contributing to winning a world cup.
I hope Nobody puts his hat into the ring, his stature and deep understanding of the game should see the good ones improve, the marginals step up and the serial offenders sent packing.