Good afternoon David and all,
I would agree that the Wallabies previously had an image problem, but the Wallabies of 2014 appear to be a fairly wholesome respectable unit. This did not occur over night, but the memory of serial offenders Cooper, Beale and O'Conner disrupting and arguably disrespecting the jumper when at their worst, coupled with the ARU's and then Coach Robbie Deans inability to enforce a winning team culture still faintly echo as a place Australian rugby does not want to return to.
David your were, and maybe still are an avid supporter of former ARU heavyweight Jon O'Neill and his coach Robbie Deans. In 35 years of watching and playing rugby I can't recall the image of Australian Rugby being as low as it was under the final years of the O'Neill/Deans alliance. Whilst I don't think the sun shines from the back side of Bill Pulver, Micahel Hawker or Ewen McKenzie I submit that this present administration has done a fantastic job of getting the Wallabies back to being an enjoyable topic for the Australian sports observer.
This has been supported wonderfully by the efforts of Michael Chieka, Stephen Larkham/Laurie Fisher and Michael Foley who gave their sides respective fans a reason to go to the rugby. They played spirited, attractive rugby. Furthermore the NRC has already has people talking about rugby and we can see that next level of player developing and also providing some entertainment along the way. So whilst the papers might not be full of rugby, I suggest rugby in this country is in a better place than it has been for some time. With the recent scandal in relation to the Cronulla Sharks and Essendon Bombers I think rugby is going OK on the image stakes.
Go back a year and think where we were, and think where we are now, we are talking about a real shot at the Bledisloe Cup. But even prior to last weeks result, 70,000 odd folk braved the elements and ticket prices to go out to that armpit known as Hombush to watch the game. Clearly some people think the Wallabies are going well.
Are you still in the deep south? I would say it was a good Wallaby side because they got it right mentally to take the All Blacks on up front. Lets not forget they were without a coach and 8 of their first choice players through injury or unavailability.
Out of the Wallabies on the park that day really only Hipwell and Moon would be argued as our all time best in their positions. I am sure Catchpole(9) and Campese, Tune would be up there with Moon(11) so it was not a great Wallaby side in that sense. They were a great Wallaby side on the day because they over came adversity and ripped in. That may have been the shock?
We don't find ourselves without a coach, we do have some cattle out, but I would suggest Australian Rugby is culturally and mentally in the best place it has been for some time. Does that mean we will repeat 78 and 86 tomorrow? Of course not - but I think we'll compete and compete hard and give ourselves every opportunity.
Good Morning RT and all,
1978 was an interesting year for both the Wallabies and the All Blacks and in a way the echo of the past can be heard on the winds to a degree. In 1978 the Australian Rugby Union was essentially broke, and if were not for the benevolence of ADDIDAS and then New Zealand Rugby Union who agreed to play the Wallabies every year rugby in this country arguably would have wilted on the vine.
In 1978 the Wallabies found some resurgence by beating the Welsh on home in a two test series, just losing to the All Blacks 13-12 at Wellington after a dubious penalty placement decision by Otago's own David Millar. Soundly beaten in Christchurch and then later came out and defeated the All Blacks in an historic victory. Australian Rugby was on the rise.
Conversely All Black rugby suffered two defeats that year, one to Australia, the other to Munster. In both matches they were out muscled. However the All Blacks only just defeated Wales 13-12 and Ireland 10-6 on that tour and despite the victories it could be argued that good sides like the Welsh, Irish and Australians had found a way to compete with those All Blacks.
We move forward to 2014, again the Australian Rugby Union finds itself in a choppy financial waters but thanks to our own efforts in Super Rugby, and for New Zealander's making the trip to the Super Final and opening Bledisloe Cup in Sydney the ARU has had a welcome influx of revenue. The All Blacks of 2014 may a little similar to those on 1978, a very good side who have had a mixed series against England but are getting figured out to a degree perhaps? There is evidence that the Wallabies are on the rise going undefeated in 8 matches. Perhaps this might be the year the Wallabies finally win at Eden Park again?