Steve Hansen calls for Aussie rugby fans to stay strong with the Wallabies

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    All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has urged disenchanted Australian rugby fans to keep supporting the Wallabies despite their Bledisloe Cup drought.

    New Zealand have held the trophy since 2003 and Australia last won the series outright in 2001.

    The Wallabies win in their most recent encounter was only their second in their last 19 contests against the world champions.

    With the lack of success compared to Australia’s glory days at the turn of the century, crowds in Sydney have dropped off significantly since then, with next Saturday’s attendance at ANZ Stadium expected to fall well short of the venue’s 80,000 plus capacity.

    “I think that’s the local fans probably feeling like they’ve moved away from Australian rugby and they shouldn’t do that,” Hansen said upon the All Blacks arrival in Sydney on Sunday evening,

    “The Australian team, I believe anyway, is a really good side and they should keep supporting them.”

    Hansen stressed the traditional trans-Tasman rivalry remained relevant despite the lop-sided results of recent years, describing it as “semi-family-like.

    “Little brother always likes to beat big brother and big brother doesn’t like losing to little brother, so that keeps the competition alive,” he said.

    “Then players, particularly, get to understand the history of the Bledisloe and they take a pride in that.”

    Most of the current Wallabies were still at school when Australia last held the Bledisloe.

    They would recall Australia ruling the roost at the start of the millennium having won the 1999 World Cup, a series against the British and Irish Lions in 2001, in addition to holding the Bledisloe at the start of the 21st century.

    “I really enjoyed going out and watching the Wallabies obviously in a golden era back then and winning lots of games,” back Reece Hodge said.

    “We were just talking about it during the week, how big the crowds were and how much the support was behind Australia especially when we doing well.

    “We want to be the ones to change that and to bring that kind of support and attitude back to Australian rugby.”

    Hansen said it looked increasingly like versatile Melbourne Rebels back Hodge would fill the Wallabies’ No.13 jersey next Saturday.

    “You’d call him a utility player and because of that he gets moved around a lot so it’s probably to his disadvantage,” Hansen said.

    “But at the same time he’s a pretty handy footballer.”

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (16)

    • Roar Rookie

      August 13th 2018 @ 9:43am
      Paulo said | August 13th 2018 @ 9:43am | ! Report

      At the end of the day most Kiwis do want Australian Rugby to do well. I am always most uncomfortable watching a trans-Tasman game, more so than SA or Eng or any other team. When they do turn the results around, which they will, it will be a good day for Australasian Rugby as a whole. NZ and Aus rugby need each other to be strong so we can keep sharpening ourselves against each other.

      There is always the ‘friendly’ banter between tribes, even if some can take it too far or lose the humourous edge to things – easy to do in written word only.

      Being a Kiwi living in Australia, typically Australia is my second team (where once it might have been the Irish). The fans will come back, it as it is with most sports, the best and fastest way to win them back is to get the results. It’s always easier to back a winner. I hope they do well in the RC… second place is a good result.

      • August 13th 2018 @ 11:18am
        Cliff Bishkek said | August 13th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

        Paulo, I agree with what you say. However, a large majority of Wallaby (or should I say Rugby Fans) are not turned off by the continued losses and an occasional win against the ABs. Up until the 1998/99 period up until 2003, that was the norm for the Wallabies. But we were, most times competitive.

        The fans are also disgruntled at the management by RA (formerly ARU) and the State bodies of the grassroots and pathways and also the Cheika selection of players which in all honestly is not a selection of “inform” players. Many believe that it is his selections that deliver us many of our defeats. I will stress that he is not an International Standard Coach; never has been.

        Many supporters now are more likely to be watching Club Rugby. Cheers

        • Roar Rookie

          August 13th 2018 @ 4:13pm
          Paulo said | August 13th 2018 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

          Cliff, absolutely there are faithful fans that have stuck to their support of the team. The issues that you listed are disgruntling the fans I think are the main cause for the lack of results recently against the ABs in particular. Even if that is a very simplified and generalist explanation. Hopefully those issues you listed can be addressed, fix those and the results (and the fair weather fans) will come. Good Luck.

    • August 13th 2018 @ 10:55am
      ethan said | August 13th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

      For the casual sporting fan and bandwagon jumpers its mostly about the results. Aus rugby has obviously lost a lot of those over the years, and will take time to win them back. For the truer fans though its as much to do with selections and tactics. I think we’d all be happy with them if they were producing results, but they are not, and the persistence with losing strategy is stunning. Will we always have defensive turnstiles, an unbalanced backrow, poor discipline, no exit plan, no back up number 10, and under performers getting armchair rides?
      It was worth a shot Mr. Cheika, but it has often misfired.

      • Roar Guru

        August 13th 2018 @ 11:16am
        Hoy said | August 13th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

        This is an issue I have… it isn’t necessarily the losses per se… but the losses that could have been avoided? The topsy turvy ride of Australia’s national side’s results show that we have a concentration problem, which is further influenced by poor tactics, poor selection and poor coaching at quite a few levels leading up to that top tier.

        • August 13th 2018 @ 4:20pm
          Fionn said | August 13th 2018 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

          I don’t mind losses. Obviously I prefer to win, but I can be proud of the Wallabies when they play well and the other team simply plays better. It is just those performances where we are truly awful that really hurt.

          didn’t mind losing the RWC final for example. We did our best, but that All Blacks side was simply too strong.

      • August 13th 2018 @ 6:31pm
        Redsfan1 said | August 13th 2018 @ 6:31pm | ! Report

        Let’s be honest, there was the same decline and anger at selections under Deans and McKenzie as Cheika.

        • August 13th 2018 @ 6:51pm
          Fionn said | August 13th 2018 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

          Redsfan, was there? I remember bewilderment under Deans, more than anger. With Link I thought if anything he went too far the other way in terms of dropping favourites (Genia).

          I can quite accept I’m wrong here though man.

          Cheers

        • August 13th 2018 @ 8:23pm
          HitmanDan said | August 13th 2018 @ 8:23pm | ! Report

          Funnily enough, Robbie Deans has the best winning % since Rod McQueen. And he certainly wasn’t gifted the same talent McQueen had at his disposal…

        • Roar Guru

          August 13th 2018 @ 10:17pm
          eagleJack said | August 13th 2018 @ 10:17pm | ! Report

          Exactly Redsfan1. Australian rugby fans have short memories. As sure as night follows day the next Wallabies coach will come on with much fanfare, only to then be hammered with regards to selections and tactics, when we inevitably lose.

    • August 13th 2018 @ 1:51pm
      Lara said | August 13th 2018 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

      Strange as it may seem, Hansen probably knows what it is like to keep losing to the same opposition…..Wales. The Welsh are incredible passionate, n I sure they give it to their team n coaching staff when they lose , but they stay loyal, good times n bad times.

    • August 13th 2018 @ 2:15pm
      Stu B. said | August 13th 2018 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

      I agree with the above comments.It is difficult to be enthusiastic with a a below par coach also the stupidity of appointing him sole selector couple this with a board loaded with differing personal agendas, secrecy and showing little ambition for developing home grown personnel, for far to many years throwing millions at half union skilled one shot players from other codes. Good business would dictate having a sound foundation upon which to build, expand and improve. We are now at least 15 years beyond this foundation.

    • August 13th 2018 @ 2:15pm
      SP said | August 13th 2018 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

      This guy again?

    • August 13th 2018 @ 4:24pm
      enougisenough said | August 13th 2018 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

      Its not so much the results that have me less enthusiastic about the Wallabies than ever before. Its Cheika’s selections and tactics and the dumb way we lose because of said selections and tactics, and its how the very players that caused the demise of McKenzie have been rewarded for their treachery and poor behaviour. Its hard to feel that the wallabies are truly representative of Australia given Cheika’s obvious biases.

      • August 17th 2018 @ 1:33am
        MW7 said | August 17th 2018 @ 1:33am | ! Report

        It is not all down to Cheika. His first 18 months were strong but the last 2 years not so strong. Jones, Connolly, Deans all had their moments but had disasters as well – 2005 losses, 2007 RWC QF, losing to Scotland Samoa and a poor Lions series respectively. McKenzie helped to dig his own grave.

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