Us supporters just wanted to drop you a line before the World Cup final on Saturday.
It’s a massive game of course, and back home we all know that you’ll be pretty busy this week. But we hope you get a chance to read this in between times.
It is pretty hard to overstate how good Aussie rugby people are feeling right now. There is no greater pleasure for us rugby fans than the joy you get from running into a rugby mate and both of you saying simultaneously to each other “How good are those Wallabieeesss!”.
It warms our hearts right through.
There’s a humbling sense of belonging that goes with it, like we’re all pulling together in this thing somehow. Of course, we know we’re doing bugger all, sitting at home on the couch with our early-am cups of tea, but let us tell you – we feel like our passion just must carry over that 12,000 mile gap somehow and spur you blokes on – like the force in Star Wars or something.
Yeah I know. Passion is an overused word these days isn’t it?. Everyone’s passionate about everything. But there’s just no other word to describe how we feel about rugby right now. If passion means that when we talk about something, that our heart pumps a bit, that we feel the need to shake that bit of tension out of our hands and feet, and we get a weird urge to tackle someone… then passion must be what it is.
This is what you Wallabies have done. Can you believe it? You’ve pulled Australian rugby together again. God knows it hasn’t been that way for a while, and all we needed was something to follow. Well, you’ve given us that alright.
It’s not the tries by the way. We love ‘em, and we cheer like idiots when they happen, but they’re not what we love most. See, the Wallabies have always been able to score tries.
What we love is the stuff in the trenches. When we see Benny McCalman throw himself under the George North bus and stop a certain try, or when Adam Ash rushes up and shuts down the Welsh attack midfield after minutes of gut-busting work in defence, or when Fards, or Kane, or Hoops or Poey whack a big guy and get a turnover, we stand up in our living rooms and frickin’ roar with pride like you wouldn’t believe.
Fists clenched, veins standing out in the neck… yelling “come on!”. You should see it – it’s pretty funny.
At least it would be if it wasn’t so heartfelt. See, like a drunken mate at the end of a bucks party, we love you guys. We bloody love you. Because we know that all that work and hurt you’re going through – a lot of it is for us.
We know about the pride thing you’ve got going on. You’ve mentioned it in the interviews a lot, this idea of making people proud back home and playing for them. Well, just in case no-one bothered to tell you yet, you’ve done it. If you wanted to make us proud, you’ve bloody done it.
We’re proud of how you’re carrying yourselves. We’re proud of how tough you are, and we’re also proud of your humility. We’re proud of your appetite for the battle and the hard work. We’re proud that you never lie down. We’re proud of your teamwork and the way you hang together, looking after each other. We’re proud of the way you’ve shut up and got on with it.
Now. We think you’ll win on Saturday. We’re sure in fact. But we know that in a two-horse race, there’s a chance you might not. That’s rugby, and so we might end up a bit excited or a bit disappointed. But whichever it is, there’ll be a bigger feeling over the top of it.
We’ll be bloody proud to be Australian and even more proud to be Wallabies supporters. Our pride in you isn’t going anywhere.
And because of that, we want to tell you that you can stop playing for us now. You’ve played for us enough. We’ve had all we deserve and more.
This time, go out and play for yourselves. You deserve it. You’ve given us the gift of a team we can follow. And now it’s time for us supporters to give something back. We’re going to lighten the load – you don’t need to carry the nation Okay?
We’re right behind you all the way, don’t worry about that. But this time, go out and play for each other.
Go out and play for the coaches and the physios and the doctor and the management and the masseurs and the liaison guys and everyone in the party that helped you get this far. Play for the dirt-trackers, who’ve played half a game all tournament but haven’t ever stopped putting in for the team.
Play for the guys who won’t be there next year. Play for the guys who have been the stars, and play for the guys who no-one has noticed but who have got us home in tight spots. Play for the guys who went before and who are watching you carry on their legacy. Play for the guys yet to come, so that they have someone great to aspire to.
But most of all, play for yourselves. You’ve earned the right to a memory for life, so go out there and take it. We want you to have it.
As for us, we couldn’t be happier. You’ve already given us the only thing we ever really wanted.
A team we can be proud of.