The Commonwealth Games and ARU are trotting
out most of the Sevens rugby team for a training run in Melbourne this morning and
then a walk around Telstra Dome – although only two of the four Wallabies on
loan from the Super 14 teams will be on display. Chris Latham “isn’t available”
for the two-day camp while Matt Giteau was scheduled to arrive late.

Still, Lote Tuiquiri and Scott Fava might
at least make the Melbourne TV news where they’re unlikely to be asked about
the embarrassing games they took part in over the weekend. The only happy
Australian rugby fans would be those of Scottish descent after the Scots
defeated England for what seems like the first time since William Wallace hung up
his boots.

For those focusing on Super 14 though, the
SMH‘s Greg Growden summarised Round 3 thus: “Naas Botha, that master mauler of the English language, could have been
talking about any of the four Super 14 matches involving Australian teams at
the weekend when he said: ‘The bad team is beating the worst team’.”

The Western Force had perhaps their best
chance of winning a game this season, but failed to do anything except reach
for the wooden spoon. The Queensland Reds – the only other winless team – failed by a miserable point
after leading with eight minutes left against an Auckland Blues outfit that
looks a decidedly unhappy enterprise. The Waratahs lost the match, the fight,
and the judiciary while exposing several problems that could cost them any place
in the final four. It looks like NSW’s hopes will again rest on Matt Rogers’s
form when he returns this weekend.

The Brumbies are the best of the locals,
but appeared at sea against the Sharks, seeming happy to settle for the draw
with a few minutes to play.

Sitting comfortably in a lounge chair
watching a team that’s been belted by mad South Africans for 77 minutes, it’s
easy to criticise them for kicking away possession in those final moments – so
I will. Maybe it’s the professional era, playing the percentages and preferring
a draw to a possible loss, but it’s not the spirit of the game or the game of a
spirited side.

Now, how does that Flower of Scotland song
go?

Peter Fray

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