With two matches to go on their European tour, the Wallabies’ record stands at two wins, two losses and one draw – very barely breaking even. Just as well the last two games are against Scottish rugby lightweights.
Ireland’s 21-6 victory this morning was well deserved – a better team with more talent, skill and commitment playing extraordinarily good rugby in foul conditions. Their first-half display would have given the All Blacks a much tougher test than the French managed the previous night.
As Planetrugby.com observed: “Ireland allowed their fans to dream of world domination. Like England’s progression towards Rugby World Cup 2003, Ireland are beginning to collect scalps from the Southern Hemisphere…”
After such a solid beating, the correct response from Wallaby coach John Connolly should have been nothing other than generous congratulations, returning the compliments paid by the Irish in Perth. Unfortunately, Knuckles was a little less than gracious, trying to blame the weather.
Australia was outclassed from 1 to 15 and lucky not to have been whistled off the park. South African ref Marius Jonker let the Wallabies get away with continuously playing the ball when off their feet, slowing down the rucks and lifting Irish legs in mauls.
But just when Wallaby fans should be bravely adjusting to the world order, the ARU makes it worse by suggesting it can solve the immediate problems by buying more Rugby League players – as reported by Jeff Wall in Crikey last week – with the SMH adding some quotes today.
That’s the worst performance of the weekend. The Wallabies bought three Kangaroos – Sailor, Rodgers and Tuqiri. One was an embarrassment, one a good Super 14 player and only one turned out to be the real thing in the run-on side and even then, Lote wouldn’t make the All Blacks’ first fifteen.
For all their talent, there are no mongos who would have a hope of adapting to union fast enough to make a difference in the World Cup next year. And that’s if they were available. Forget it.