On the May 6, 1954 in England, a young medical student running on Oxford University’s Iffley Road track achieved what many before him had tried and failed to achieve.
On that day, Roger Bannister broke the seemingly impossible four-minute mile barrier in athletics track and field to record a time of three minutes and 59.4 seconds for the mile.
So much effort and planning went into that great achievement. Incredibly, once the psychological barrier had been broken, more than 1400 male athletes have broken the four-minute mile barrier. The current world record for the mile stands at three minutes and 43.13 seconds.
That brings us to the Wallabies and their brilliant win on Saturday night against the All Blacks in Perth.
While the euphoria is still settling, it begs the question: have the Wallabies finally broken their own four-minute mile barrier with the All Blacks?
There is no doubting that the task of beating the All Blacks is a massive challenge, both physically and mentally, for the Wallabies. Certainly, the results over this century alone would indicate that the wins have been few and far between and that beating New Zealand represents the Wallabies’ own four-minute mile barrier.
Looking at those results, from August 5, 2000 to September 1, 2001, Australia had their longest winning streak of three matches this century: in Wellington 24-23, in Dunedin 23-15 and in Sydney 29-26.
Prior to that, since professionalism began in 1996, the only other winning streak of three games was in 1998 when Australia won in Melbourne 24-16, Christchurch 27-23 and Sydney 19-14.
Since 2001, Australia has only managed ten one-off wins and a two draws. Since 2010, Saturday night’s effort was only the Wallabies’ fifth win.
The results aren’t pleasant viewing. The evidence of history tells us that more likely than not, this will be another one-off win. Only time will tell if the 2019 Wallabies have broken their four-minute mile barrier with the All Blacks.
That brings me to my next point: hope.
For the first time in a long time, there is a reason to hope and believe in the Wallabies. If the 2019 Wallabies have broken their barrier, then the sky is the limit. History has also shown us this – just look at the 1998 Wallabies, who led us into the golden era of rugby in Australia.
Whether it be a false dawn or the beginning of the journey to greatness, either way I will be excited and proud of the 2019 Wallabies.
Anyway, with one hand on the Bledisloe Cup and the scent of blood in the water, its not all bad… hopefully.