It’s been a hell of a comedown for Wallabies supporters, with the best chance of claiming the Bledisloe Cup in years swept away in no time at all as a rampant All Blacks side produced a 57-point turnaround to retain the trans-Tasman trophy.
The world of rugby union needs a strong Australian side, as the Wallabies bring so much to the game that other nations struggle to match when it works.
The sense of pride, the fierce competitive spirit and the desire to win are hallmarks of the best Australian sides from the past.
I am an England supporter visiting Australia and recently watched the Melbourne Rebels on two occasions – one a well deserved victory and the other a heavy loss in which the Rebels did not really turn up.
What I have witnessed in the two matches I have seen has varied from brilliant play between Will Genia and Quade Cooper that allows the rest of the back line to flow, and total disinterest in completing the basic tasks of tackling and retaining the ball from players who should know better.
As I have only seen a couple of Rebels matches, I am in no way trying to tell Michael Cheika how to go about his business.
But the halves combination of Genia and Cooper provides a strong axis around which to build an attacking team.
Of course, defensive play is equally important and a stong front five, quick flankers and a No.8 who can control play at the back of the scrum are essential, as are strong centres and wings who can defend under pressure as well as attack for the full 80-plus minutes of a match.
The game is quite simple and players who can concentrate, stick to the game plan, committed to winning and capable of representing the Australian public in a way that makes them proud to be Aussies are vital ingredients to a successful World Cup campaign.
As a Pom, I will always want England to win.
But when the Australias Wallabies play to their potential, there is no better side in world rugby.
Come on, Michael Cheika – kick some butts and get them firing.
Good luck for the World Cup from Mick Wood, a Bath and England supporter.