The Wallabies 49-0 thrashing of the
Springboks was a wonderful thing – as long as you’re not a Boks supporter, of
course – but part of the wonder is because it was such a nice break from the
reality of top flight international rugby.

For those with any sense of history, the whipping
was some small redress for the long decades of Wallaby defeat at the boots of
the South Africans. And you don’t have to go back very far to remember the
occasional game when Australia was outclassed as completely as the Boks were on Saturday night.

More importantly, you only have to be able
to recall the past year when the Wallabies comprehensively thumped the Boks
30-12 in Sydney – and then proceeded to be well beaten in South Africa. And New
Zealand. And just
about everywhere.

So, no, we shouldn’t get too carried away –
the Boks won’t be that bad again – but,
geez, 49-0, South Africa’s second-worst test loss ever, by our little boys in
gold, they were lucky to get 0, we should have won by a lot more …

A shattered South Africa now has to play the All Blacks in NZ this weekend. Against their
traditional main foe, you’d have to expect a much better Springboks performance
before they again lose, clearing the decks for the Bledisloe match in Brisbane on
Saturday week.

And Brisbane is a
factor that perhaps hasn’t received enough credit. Suncorp Stadium can claim to
be the best rugby venue in Australia
or New Zealand. The reborn Lang Park is bringing an atmosphere factor that will help the Wallabies the
way Sydney’s Telstra Stadium did for its first few years. The game to be at in
2006 is on 29 July.

Meanwhile there’s an Australia
A vs Fiji series underway that nobody seems to have noticed. For all Foxtel’s
prancing around about sports coverage, I couldn’t find it on their schedule.
Only 6,000 or so souls turned out in Adelaide last
Friday to watch – we’ll see if Melbourne does any better this week.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey