Another week has gone by with rugby again in the headlines – and unfortunately not for anything particularly good.
It seems the refusal by three Reds players to sign the revised pay deal spark a titanic debate over the rights and wrongs of unhappy players vs “the good of the game”. As with a lot of arguments, often the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
With all of the previous years of fan disappointment at both international and Super Rugby, a predatory type environment has evolved.
Fans, supporters what ever you like to call them are now baying for blood. Whether it be from failed coaches, or administrators, or errant players refusing contracts, it matters little.
After several unsuccessful years, supporters of union have had enough.
This poses interesting questions regarding the incoming coaching team for the Wallabies. If Dave Rennie cannot secure some quick victories to quell the thirst for blood, he to may well end up a victim of the “Rugby Mob”.
Coaching is never an easy task at the best of times. Add money into the mix and it becomes even harder. It seems RA has secured a Test series again the All Blacks, this will be a sink or swim mission for Rennie.
Failure in these matches would certainly put his tenure on the back foot. As rugby slowly creeps forward towards restarting there are still bullets whistling overhead.
There is still no broadcasting deal in place, and the growling of disgruntled supporters can be heard in the distance.
A failure to deliver a successful deal will result in a salvaging by a hungry for blood media, and fans alike.
Amidst all this uncertainty and political unrest, Rennie must try and prepare a squad to face a powerful All Black side who will give no quarter to its struggling Wallaby foe.
No doubt there will be considerable interest in how coach Rennie’s Wallabies will fare.
If a Rocky Balboa-type result occurs Rennie will be “King”. It would appear this is rugby in Australia’s make or break series, and ironically being lead by a Kiwi. Reflecting on that who better to know the All Black game than a Kiwi?
Time will tell.
Departed Wallaby coach Michael Cheika has been in the media spotlight discussing reasons why he felt his coaching reign had failed.
This understandably received very mixed reviews from fans and media alike. Problems with selection meant according to Cheika he was unable to field the players he wanted to. Also further on from that the structure of Super Rufgby also handicapped his ability to field his best team.
Not surprisingly, this was received with a varied response, most of which was fairly negative by frustrated supporters who had heard enough from Cheika to last them a lifetime.
For the media Cheika remains a controversial figure of interest. It is likely we will see more of him in the months to come.
For fans however he has become a slow moving target for frustration because of the game’s current lack of success.
Amidst all of this heavy emotion and passion lies the wounded beast RA. It is trying through all this turmoil to put the piece back together of a fractured game in crisis.
Many may ask how did it get to this point? There is a really simple answer other than to say professional sport is a gladiatorial environment.
Failure to succeed can almost certainly lead to death, or in this case the current state of rugby. Professional sport is almost MacBeth like in it brutal drive for power and success at any cost.
Slowly but surely RA must claw its way back towards the top of international rugby regaining supporters and monetary value as it goes.
I have heard it said rugby is not just the Wallabies. It is fair to say however in a world of market and brand value what they can bring to the table if successful a strong broadcasting deal ie money to support the game.
If you look back on the last broadcast deal it was the best the game had ever had. With a losing Wallaby side they are struggling to even find one at present.
A bright light in a negative week has been the restart of training signalling a restart in the SR program sometime soon.
It will be good for fans to be able to watch something positive, this may take the edge of a frustrated fan-base staring down a desperate administration looking for answers to the games problems.
As with all crisis there are often no quick fixes. The Covid 19 epidemic threw a curve ball at a struggling administration it just couldn’t handle.
But a famous musician once said out of failure comes success. Maybe RA had to hit rock bottom to reshape itself into a competitive winning model.
If Clarke can pull off a deal to keep the game a float, and Rennie get a win against the All Blacks the tide could well turn “Green and Gold” .