The most insightful rugby writing this week
can be found on Ben Tune’s SMH blog,
but it’s not Tuney’s effort – it’s the dozens of comments that follow
from the rugby faithful, too many to bother counting. Their message is
extraordinarily clear and unanimous: George Gregan has to go and go
now. If
he’s in the run-on side in two weeks, the ARU will be guilty of
contempt.

Contrary to what some of the marketing
types might think, the Wallabies are owned by the people who watch and care
enough to add comments to blogs and write letters to editors and bend ears in
pubs and on the sidelines of games ranging from the Under Sevens to first grade. The
owners have spoken very clearly and with good reason and there’s no excuse left
for ignoring them. Do as you are told.

Gregan’s immediate retirement isn’t the
only advice coming from the owners. Plenty of other old Wallabies cop a
shellacking as well, but Gregan is the common theme. Captains must be prepared
to lead by example, but now the captain has to be the example.

Perhaps the Wallabies themselves should be
forced to read the whole blog. The team dismisses criticism from rugby hacks,
but the people who really pay their salaries shouldn’t be ignored.

And aside from selections, the ownership
hints at other matters the ARU should be listening to. There’s a severe warning
about all those empty seats on Saturday night, about the pre-game nonsense,
about the structure and attractiveness of the juniors competitions. And there’s
praise for the quality of the half-time match between local Under Sevens teams –
but the writer makes the point that $100 is a bit much to ask for an Under Sevens
game.

Which touches on another suggestion: For
heavens sake, drop the dreary pre-game “entertainment”. The best warm-up act
for rugby is rugby. Schedule Qld v NSW Under 21s, for example.

The tribe has spoken.

Peter Fray

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