In the latest episode of the world’s longest running soap opera, Rugby Administration in Australia, a heroic group of former Wallabies captains and a benevolent global media conglomerate have fought a successful battle to keep the Kiwis out of Aussie rugby.
Raelene Castle, a potential vector of New Zealand-style success at rugby, risked infecting the Aussie game and ruining nearly two decades of hard work at Aussie success at failure.
Well, thank goodness we had the Magnificent Eleven – err, Ten – to cut her off at the pass. The last time we had a Kiwi in a key role at the Wallabies, coach Robbie Deans, he put the curve of success on such an upward trajectory that our team ranked second in the world at times. So we sacked Dingo, quite right considering he had the cheek to try to help make the Bledisloe half as competitive as an all-Kiwi Super Rugby final.
Unfortunately, flattening the success curve takes longer than it does to set it off on a diabolically upward trajectory. Michael Cheika fought hard to wrangle that curve and had to endure a spot in the 2015 World Cup final, which we can at least partly blame on referee Craig Joubert for getting the Wallabies through the quarter-final against Scotland, before flattening the curve.
But from 2016, by crikey, did Cheika flatten it. He used the same tried and true methods of Randwick running rugby, that will undoubtedly arise out of an Australian super club competition, where the rules are cleverly changed to suite the Australian aesthetic but not to win international rugby matches.
Special mention must go to the spiritual leader of the Magnificent Eleven (or Ten?), Pastor Nick Farr-Jones. Pastor Nick was decisive in leading the charge to storm the Castle, setting things right after her terrible treatment of Australian rugby’s most expensive disappointment: Israel Folau.
Pastor Nick offered a theological explanation for his actions: “It is all very well to talk about turning the other cheek, but people who say that obviously haven’t played the All Blacks when Richard Loe was on the team. If you don’t gouge a Kiwi’s eye out when they trespass onto your side of the breakdown, it will happen all day.”
Phil Kearns also deserves credit for supporting the coup and should have been appointed CEO of Rugby Australia last time anyway. Kearns clearly demonstrated the judgement, tact and diplomacy for the role when he publicly told former RA chairman Cameron Clyne to grow some cajones, and then applied for a job with Clyne as the chair of the interview panel.
George Gregan was reluctant to claim a leadership role, simply stating: “Listen, the coffee business has just died with the shutdown and I really need to keep my job with Fox”.
Stephen Moore was more forthright, earnestly outlining a bunch of changes that the Magnificent Eleven/Ten want to see. Key among this was adjusting top player salaries, which probably would have happened under Castle anyway in the new post-coronovirus economic reality.
However, Moore clearly felt it was better for former players who have already banked their pre-coronvirus earnings to deliver the bad news to their mates.
So rest assured that Aussie rugby is safe from success for another decade. Raelene Castle is undoubtedly miserable, sitting by the pool drowning her sorrows with a margarita and no longer receiving constant phone calls from about 200 uber-entitled Australian man-children, and having to resort to barracking for that miserably successful team, the All Blacks.