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Thread: Three reasons why Australian Rugby is on the brink of total implosion

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    Three reasons why Australian Rugby is on the brink of total implosion

    Another article focusing on Australian Rugby's demise

    Unless things change at the top it's all going to get alot worse before this gets any better

    Three reasons why Australian Rugby is on the brink of total implosion


    Alex Broun 18/09/2018
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    At least Reece Hodge cares

    With five losses in six Tests, half-empty stadiums and players literally fighting with fans in the stands, Australian rugby is on the brink of total implosion.


    But how did the once proud rugby nation, and the world champions of 1991 and 1999, reach such a deplorable state?

    We take a look at the three main reasons:

    Michael Cheika

    We are in no way suggesting that the Wallabies coach is the architect of this demise but as the leader of the national team – and a figurehead for the game in the country – Cheika has to take part of the blame.

    Related
    Daily Digest: International Rugby on the brink of ruin – Agustin Pichot


    Australian rugby has always thrived on a strong national team and the current Wallabies are soulless, aimless and seem to be getting worse.


    The players’ commitment is regularly questioned but in my eyes the players do not lack commitment, what they lack is clarity.

    They don’t seem to know what they are meant to be doing and why.

    It is the role of the coach to lay out a clear path for his players charting the way to their eventual destination and also plotting the way they will take to get there.

    Compare Joe Schmidt in Ireland who has made his game plan crystal clear to his players so every single member of his 23 know exactly what they are meant to be doing every second of the game.

    This Wallabies side seem to have been going around in circles for the last three seasons, heads spinning from their constant re-boots they are now falling in a dizzy heap.

    Exhorting players to “do it for your country” is poor coaching of the highest order.

    It all started so brightly for Cheika. Taking over from the disgraced Ewen McKenzie at the end of 2014 he led the Wallabies to their first Rugby Championship crown in August 2015, defeating the All Blacks at his first attempt, and the final of the 2015 Rugby World Cup – against the same opponent.

    But since then it’s been a slow and awkward tumble downhill.

    Since the 2015 Rugby World Cup final the Wallabies have played 36 Tests winning just 15, losing 19 and drawing 2.

    It’s an appalling record and has seen the Wallabies slip from No2 in the world to No7.

    Cheika talked a lot when he took the job about discovering the Wallabies identity and playing a brand of rugby that Australians could be proud of.

    But three years down the track no one seems to know what that identity or style actually is – apart from imitate the All Blacks, badly.

    The latest loss to Argentina on the Gold Coast – the Wallabies first loss to the Pumas in Australia in 35 years – was particularly galling: the final motif of Israel Folau holding on to the ball rather than passing to an unmarked Bernard Foley on his outside summing up the Wallabies education-in-reverse perfectly.


    Rugby Australia

    The ongoing disasters at Wallabies level have been perfectly mirrored by the never ending fracas in the Rugby Australia boardroom.

    The reign of former CEO Bill Pulver was a never ending litany of tawdry dramas from the Kurtley Beale sexting scandal to the excoriating of the Western Force from Super Rugby.

    Every mis-step has been eagerly seized upon by a hungry sporting media who are not exactly unbiased.

    AFL and Rugby League are the big sellers for the Murdoch media and they are quick to portray rugby as an out-of-touch backward game played by toffee nosed private schoolboys.

    Every embarrassing drama is portrayed in gloating headlines foretelling the death of the fifteen man code.

    But Rugby’s officialdom has contributed greatly to their own problems.

    The dumping of the Western Force was a public relations disaster, threatening to kill the game in the west of the nation, made even worse after it was dragged out over six long months as the Force lay mortally wounded on the ground but still kicking and flaying for the world to see.

    Rugby Australia’s answer was to hire Raelene Castle as the new CEO, fresh from limited success with league’s Bulldogs.

    Castle has been trying to put a softer face to the game, and you would have to say succeeding, though she hasn’t been helped by Israel Folau’s controversial statements on social media.

    47-year-old Castle, who suffers from alopecia, is striving to showcase the more positive sides of rugby – especially the Olympic gold medal winning women’s Sevens team – but with so much negativity around the code it’s hard to get any cut through.

    The latest black spot involved Wallabies flanker Lukhan Tui, who got into a physical altercation with an angry fan in the stands after the lost to the Pumas and then promptly announced he was stepping away from Rugby.

    You couldn’t make it up…


    Failure to retain talent

    Australian Rugby has a big issue with a lot of its top talent being stolen by its main rival rugby league or following a different path into Australian rules or football.

    It’s understandable you will not be able to grab all the apples but its inexcusable to lose those that are gift wrapped and presented to you in a box.

    The perfect example is Angus Crichton who was part of the all-conquering Scots College First XV of 2013, Scots being one of Australia’s top rugby schools, located in the rugby heartland of Bellevue Hill/Rose Bay – hardly blue collar central.

    Crichton played for NSW and Australian Schoolboys that same year and the next step was a Super Rugby contract? Wrong.

    The way Crichton tells it, some bonehead told him he wouldn’t have a hope of playing Super Rugby till he was 23 so he promptly signed a contract for the South Sydney league club.

    He has quickly risen to the top in the 13-man game, making his State of Origin debut in the victorious NSW side this season.

    There are countless examples of this – and even worse is the number of talented players who are in the system and mis-managed wasting both money and talent.

    Quade Cooper, a maverick but unquestionably talented player, spent this season playing amateur club rugby on a salary of nearly Dh1 million because new Queensland coach Brad Thorn didn’t want him. Same for bad boy Karmichael Hunt.

    Australian Rugby simply doesn’t have the depth of talent to not make full use of players like Cooper and Hunt.

    James O’Connor is another example. Rated as one of the best players in the world in the 2013 Lions series his Australian rugby contract was torn up after he tried to board a plane in a bedraggled state.

    Since then he has wandered around Europe looking for a home, where he currently finds himself at Sale in the Premiership.

    His latest adventure took O’Connor to Iceland for rehab following an ankle surgery, where he underwent extreme therapies such as sensory-deprivation exercises, heat exhaustion and deep states of meditation.

    This experience has led O’Connor to re-state his desire to play for the Wallabies and Cheika is stupid if he does not act on that impulse and make sure O’Connor is locked in to a Super Rugby contract next season to give him the best chance of being ready for the Rugby World Cup at the end of 2019.

    Okay – O’Connor is hard to manage but so is Kurtley Beale – and he is integral to Cheika’s plans and on his day, fully fit and focused, O’Connor is more than a match for Beale.

    And what of Leinster’s Scott Fardy and Joe Tomane, Lyon’s Liam Gill, Stade Francais’ Tala Gray, Northampton’s Taqele Naiyaravoro, Clermont’s Sitaleki Timani, Harlequins’ James Horwill and Saracens’ Will Skelton.

    Every single one of those players would improve the current Wallabies squad – so why are they not being selected? Stubbornness or stupidity?

    And the final name – who would actually be the first name on any Wallabies full-strength team sheet is Sean McMahon, who is currently choosing to play club rugby in Japan than for his country.

    Cheika says he will do everything he can to get McMahon back in gold for the RWC. Let’s see if he is a man of his word. The Wallabies desperately need “Seanny Mac

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    My suggestion to Michael Cheika is to watch games played by the English football team and interviews by Gareth Southgate at the recent World Cup . A young team with no mega salary stars coached by one of the good guys . Passion and playing for each other without fear got them to the semis and very nearly to the final .. surely some message there .?

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    The reference to Raelene’s alopecia in that article was totally unnecessary. Shame on the writer for that. If the CEO was a bloke with alopecia, I bet my bottom dollar that it would not have been mentioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    The reference to Raelene’s alopecia in that article was totally unnecessary. Shame on the writer for that. If the CEO was a bloke with alopecia, I bet my bottom dollar that it would not have been mentioned.
    I agree, but when she herself has made a point of telling everyone about it, rather than dealing what she needs to do as a CEO, there is little more he can say about her. She has made the bed in this case.

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    I agree with Alison that is a path you don't need to go down.

    There are more than three problems as I could tell in 2010 that Rugby was going to down the tube particularly with the Wallabies and behaviour of players at the Waratahs and Brumbies thinking they were above what the coach was telling them. I have been trying to find Tony Rea's spray as it is still relevant today. He absorbed everyone's favourite target of the Giteau stating that he was one of the few Wallabies that made the effort at training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    I agree with Alison that is a path you don't need to go down.

    There are more than three problems as I could tell in 2010 that Rugby was going to down the tube particularly with the Wallabies and behaviour of players at the Waratahs and Brumbies thinking they were above what the coach was telling them.
    Agreed and agreed. All this bloke has done is re-hash what many other scribes have said in a pretty poor composition. Differentiating it only with irrelevant references to gift wrapped apples and the CEO's medical condition. Ewen McKenzie was replaced in disgrace??? Must have missed that one. The only disgrace I saw was the Rats Arse administration pandering to a recalcitrant, self-entitled player.

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    About the only good thing in that article is that it highlights that the problems are not any one thing. Too often, when I do stray onto other rugby forums and see, or get involved in, arguments about what is wrong with the state of the game you see arguments like:

    "You can't blame Cheika for the Wallabies being so bad; he's lost so many players to Europe, and anyway the RA aren't helping him." or:

    "You can't blame the Clyne for the state of the Wallabies, they've lost so many players to Europe and anyway it's Cheika's/the players' fault."

    The state of the game in this country is dire and it has many contributing factors. There are some success stories (eg, the Women's 7s team) but hiding behind a shiny example from 2 years ago while large parts of the rest of the game go rotten isn't helping.

    And, to be honest, claiming that the entire board should be sacked and replaced probably isn't helping, as you may well get people like Alan Jones and Brett Papsworth back in charge who seem more interested in directing money to their version of "grassroots" (ie, Shute Shield) in order to make it the pinnacle of Australian rugby, like it was in the glory years of the 1950s.

    Going down the NZ or Irish model of an integrated rugby community all pulling in the same direction looks like the way to go (they are, after all, #1 & #2 in the world rugby rankings by some margin), but whenever I read about integration of Australian rugby, it seems more like centralization of rugby in Sydney (and Brisbane/Melbourne if they are lucky).

    Maybe rugby in Australia does need to be shrunk to a tiny footprint for it to survive (have you seen the footprint of top level rugby league in Europe? With the exception of Perpignan it's a 30km wide corridor across northern England from Liverpool to Hull); but I've not seen anyone give a coherent reason for this shrinking that doesn't smack of: "well, if my club survives then I don't care about yours."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    The reference to Raelene’s alopecia in that article was totally unnecessary. Shame on the writer for that. If the CEO was a bloke with alopecia, I bet my bottom dollar that it would not have been mentioned.
    And total irrelevant to anything, in addition to saying Ewen McKenzie was disgraced - what a load of BS! It was KB's & Hooper & his buddies who were disgraceful!

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    Senior Player SPaRTAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valzc View Post
    And total irrelevant to anything, in addition to saying Ewen McKenzie was disgraced - what a load of BS! It was KB's & Hooper & his buddies who were disgraceful!
    I really wish McKenzie never left, he was a great coach and he was only just getting started when the team revolted on him. I wonder where he could have taken this team?

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    Champion valzc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPaRTAN View Post
    I really wish McKenzie never left, he was a great coach and he was only just getting started when the team revolted on him. I wonder where he could have taken this team?
    The team didn't revolt - there was just a choice few little princesses (like KB) who simply don't like being told to tow the line, and that's what's endemic in this Wallabies team now. There are the choice few who believe their own BS, have been catered to & don't play for the team just themselves. It's not really surprising what's happening, especially when the coach/RA encourage it. Which is what I've loved about the Force - Hodgo and management don't tolerate that shit, and it shows up in how they play together on the field, and its also obvious with the ABs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheikh View Post
    (have you seen the footprint of top level rugby league in Europe? With the exception of Perpignan it's a 30km wide corridor across northern England from Liverpool to Hull);
    That would be Yorkshire and Lancashire with a population of about 7.5 million. Then there's London, Toulouse, and The Toronto Dingo Pack (Who have been getting 6-10 thousand at home games). The Wolfpack are long odds-on to win promotion to Super League with London and Toulouse to fight out the Million Pound Game for the other spot. (was looking forward to that as we'll be in Yorkshire that week - a long way from any of those home grounds. Have to content myself with the Super League finals ). So the footprint will be a bit bigger next year one way or t'other.

    I think if Oz Rugby could "shrink" to the budget of either Them or the NRL they would have plenty of bucks to chuck down the Melbourne money pit. The Storm have been copping it for 20 years.

    As an aside - the RFL has possibly shot itself in the foot by rolling over to the broadcasters and the rich owners of the 3 Lancashire powerhouses Just last week. The Super League was 14 teams before they brought in the fantastic (IMO) innovation of the Super 8's promotion/relegation playoffs between 1st, 2nd and 3rd divisions. 2 up/2 down in every division, Form next year it will go back to an automatic 1 up/1 down, with very little TV exposure and revenue to the lower divisions. And the kicker is Super League does not revert to 14 clubs but stays at 12 - leaving two less to divvy up the TV pie and the richest clubs getting even more so. Sounds kind of familiar so I suppose the "shrink to greatness" might still be right Sheik.

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    Last edited by shasta; 19-09-18 at 14:10.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post

    As an aside - the RFL has possibly shot itself in the foot by rolling over to the broadcasters and the rich owners of the 3 Lancashire powerhouses Just last week. The Super League was 14 teams before they brought in the fantastic (IMO) innovation of the Super 8's promotion/relegation playoffs between 1st, 2nd and 3rd divisions. 2 up/2 down in every division, Form next year it will go back to an automatic 1 up/1 down, with very little TV exposure and revenue to the lower divisions.
    That is so stupid! That Super 8's crossover series is one of the most innovative ideas I've seen in any sport! As a matter of fact, it would be awesome to see this in soccer between the Premier League and the Championship. They're bloody daft they are; I mean, it's not like those clubs can just breakaway.

    Honestly, that Super 8's crossover idea is something that should have been looked at for Super Rugby. 3×6-team groups splitting off into a bowl, plate and championship cup, like sevens, but over a full season. The competition would be generally in-conference, then the best teams would play each other in the international section.

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    Last edited by chibi; 23-09-18 at 20:15.


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    Quote Originally Posted by valzc View Post
    The team didn't revolt - there was just a choice few little princesses (like KB) who simply don't like being told to tow the line, and that's what's endemic in this Wallabies team now. There are the choice few who believe their own BS, have been catered to & don't play for the team just themselves. It's not really surprising what's happening, especially when the coach/RA encourage it. Which is what I've loved about the Force - Hodgo and management don't tolerate that shit, and it shows up in how they play together on the field, and its also obvious with the ABs.
    Love the AB's 'No Dickheads' rule. They, the players implemented this after a series of on and off field blunders. Only problem is if we did it we would be lucky to field a 10 as side team.

    Lets start with a NO DICKHEADS policy!!
    (me excluded for those quick with the key board)

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    Quote Originally Posted by UAUdiver1959 View Post
    Love the AB's 'No Dickheads' rule. They, the players implemented this after a series of on and off field blunders. Only problem is if we did it we would be lucky to field a 10 as side team.

    Lets start with a NO DICKHEADS policy!!
    (me excluded for those quick with the key board)
    Yet Aaron Smith, Zac Guildford and Jerome Kaino got selected.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    Yet Aaron Smith, Zac Guildford and Jerome Kaino got selected.
    In fairness they (The All blacks) set a pretty high standard as role models, especially where it counts which is on the field when all the sports future kids are glued to their TV screens. The way Kieran Read handles the ref is always with respect and dignity. That's just my opinion anyway.

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