The Waratahs triumphed over the Crusaders in the Super Rugby final, with a last-gasp penalty conversion from Bernard Foley sealing the win. Aside from bringing the Waratahs their first ever Super Rugby title, what does the win mean for the players, NSW, and the Wallabies in general?
1. Adam Ashley Cooper must play at outside-centre for the Wallabies in the first Bledisloe Cup
Over the years, Ashley-Cooper’s versatility has seen him play virtually every position in the backline.
While this is a great resource to have, he has often been wasted on the wing. Judging his two-try display in the final against the Crusaders, he must play there for the Wallabies. I may be biased, but there haven’t been many more solid defenders that pulled on the gold jersey in history.
2. Kurtley Beale is back
All is forgiven. We’re a forgiving bunch as Australians. Although, I do wonder how Melbourne Rebels supporters are feeling at the present moment. They must be baffled and question where his form was during his stint with them.
3. Michael Cheika is the heir to the Wallabies job
The brand of rugby he has instilled into the Waratahs is attractive. The belief he seems to give to his players is palpable. Cheika has asked that he run things his way with complete responsibility. It’s worked.
4. It’s a good thing for NSW rugby – no – Australian rugby that we won
Rugby union is Australia’s fourth footballing code. A point that myself, as a rugby tragic, am devastated about. The AFL, NRL and FFA have seemingly endless money and resources to throw at their sports, and as a result their codes are booming. Just look at the Western Sydney Wanderers and the TV deals secured by the other codes.
If you were to believe something of what you read, the financial coffers of the ARU are not in a healthy position – hard to believe after a British Lions tour last year. We need to get kids talking about and playing rugby. We need sponsors to want to be involved in rugby. Winning the match is a good start. And it was a thrilling, enjoyable game for everyone to watch.
5. Bledisloe Cup
The Wallabies are a massive chance of breaking the Bledisloe Cup drought. They must win Game 1 in Sydney to roll the momentum from the Super Rugby win into international success.
6. We need Izzy
Australian rugby must do whatever it must to hang on to Israel Folau. Many of the Wallabies, or even Waratahs, players could walk down the street without being recognised. The reality of the modern world is we need marketable stars. Folau is that and then some.
7. Will Skelton needs to be in the Wallabies squad
I remember the impact Willie Ofahengaue had as a kid. I worshipped him. Will Skelton can be that same magnetic figure for kids all over Australia.
8. Rugby in Western Sydney needs massive attention
A significant portion of the Waratahs squad hailed from western Sydney and the attention and funding of the NSWRU and ARU must now start being directed to this area. If they don’t, rugby will peter out. This is needs to be the new heartland of rugby and treated with respect.
9. Richie McCaw does get penalised
I found it highly ironic that a player who seemingly escapes punishment countless times in every match during his entire career was penalised to give the Waratahs the chance to win the title. He’s still the best ever. My one-sided heart believes it may have just been a little bit of karma.