Monday, July 18, 2011

At least I can say I was there

I had a great Sunday. Firstly enjoyed a Rugby ecumenical service in Kathy Freeman park with the Samoan choir and Nick Farr-Jones giving the address.

I then got to watch a cracker game of Rugby and can always say I was there when Samoa beat the Wallabies!

A few observations. None of the Brumbies in the run on side showed any improvement on their Super Rugby form. Matt Giteau has prematurely aged - he couldn't step around a dog turd on the pavement these days. Samoa showed the Wallabies will be as susceptible as the Reds were to big commitment at the breakdown.

This wasn't the strongest Wallaby squad by any stretch of the imagination, it wasn't as strong a fifteen as the Reds or even the Waratahs bits and pieces outfit. But it was still stronger than the other three Australian franchises individually.

The result showed the effects of hubris and, more importantly, the lack of leadership on the field. When things started going wrong nothing happened.

The Reds in Horwill and Genia had two leaders of quality. The difference in the 'Tahs between games with and without Phil Waugh as leader were remarkable. The Brumbies and Rebels lacked on field leadership all season.

Memo Robbie Deans. Play Rocky Elsom if you want - though I'd put Scott Higginbotham on the flank and Wycliffe Palu at No 8. But don't make Elsom captain.


It was interesting to watch the Wallabies in the context of the Farr-Jones address. He'd said that the development in the Wallabies from 1989 to 1991 was to focus on process not the scoreboard. Focus on what you are doing and trust in the fourteen men around you and the scoreboard will follow. The epiphany of that philosophy was the remarkable 1991 win against Ireland at Lansdowne Rd.

He used that as an analogy for life - do what you can do and have faith (in those around you and/or your god). This isn't the same as some latter day Christian sermons - just believe and everything will be alright. You have to do what you can, but you also need to have a practical view of the limits of your own ability.

The contrast was most evident between the way the Reds played this year - process- and the Wallabies on Saturday - focused on the scoreboard.

(Updated to include the piece below the stars).

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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