The Wallabies’ mascot needs to come to life

If anyone at the ARU shoud understand Leonard's terrific concept it should be Rob Clarke. As Stray Gator he comes from the advertising industry and he has a senior role at the ARUas general manager professional rugby marketing operations. Someone senior at the ARU needs to pick up the Wally ball and run with it. It is obvious and has been obvious for over a 100 years since the All Blacks adopted their iconic black colours and their haka that the Wallabies needed something icon to match this marketing of the NZ national side. The 1908 Wallabies used to do an Aboriginal dance, an Australian equivalent of the haka?, before it matches. But the captain of the side, Dr Herbert Moran, a Macquarie Street cancer specialist in later life, used to hide behind a big forward when the dance was on. For him, the dance was a travesty given the treatment of Aborigines in those times. The dance was dropped (as was the Zulu dance performed by the Springboks up to the 1920s) and the All Blacks were left with the marketing gift of the haka. Now the Springboks are coming to terms with this in a modern manner that appeals to audiences used to animation of a high calibre. It surely is not beyond the capabilities of the ARU to make something of Leonard's excellent idea, an idea that comes from a terrific career in producing excellent, moneymaking (for other people unfortunately for him) concepts. Over to you Rob Clarke to show that you are the manager to take Australian rugby and its prime moneymaker, the Wallabies, into the digital era with a concept that looks like a winner, if only it can get on to the field.

12 May 2015
SPIRO: Here come the Waratahs… If they can win in South Africa!

Brett, what is more cynical? Coming into a rolling maul in front of the ball to force an illegal try? Or tackling a player who is not legally bound and therefore has technically moved away from the maul. It was obvious from Rob Horne's shake of the head that he believed Glen Jackson made the wrong decision. Even if it was the right decision, and David Pocock was bound, how can someone be yellow carded for a cynical play that was based, in his opinion (which probably was correct and should have been checked with the TMO) that Pocock had detached. Some weeks ago Craig Joubert penalised and yellow carded a Chiefs player at the BEGINNING of the game for cynical play! Joubert's and Jackson's decisions are too much like the old, discredited tactic of "getting your retaliation" first. Referees should not impute motive in haste. And when they do they must go to the TMO to verify that their decision is based on what actually happened, rather than on what they think happened. Incidentally, I think Joubert and Jackson are excellent referees. But they could be better if they tempered their value judgment decisions with the actual evidence from the TMO. I would go further and say that all yellow and red card decisions should examined by the TMO and referee.

4 May 2015
SPIRO: Brumbies-Waratahs in the battle of the illegal rolling maul

Thank you for this, Wayne. As you say, it is a case of Homer nodding rather than Sherlock Holmes being on the job. My implication was intended to be a compliment, not a criticism, to a rugby reporter who has sources in all areas of the game. My reaction was intended to be read as a "dammit, Wayne has beaten me to my story." The next campaign concerning the rolling maul is to get World Rugby to reinstate the ELVs rule allowing the maul to be brought down. South African and English interests killed this off with the claim that pulling down the maul led to injuries. I have never seen an injury in many decades of covering rugby from a collapsed maul. We need leadership from Bill Pulver and Michael Hawker for this and other rugby matters. But where is this leadership?

1 May 2015
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