The European tour might be over but the disappointments still come for Australian rugby fans and especially Queensland Reds supporters.
But let’s start with the good news – the inexperienced Australian Sevens team thrown together at the last minute because of an industrial relations bungle by the players’ union managed one of the two big upsets of the Dubai Sevens tournament over the weekend by defeating world champions Fiji.
The young Australian squad,with only one player with previous international Sevens experience, showed there’s still something to be said for passion and having a go by knocking over Fiji 19-14 in the Saturday pool round.
Maybe the Fijians’ minds were back in Suva, wondering who’s running the country this week, as the same Australian team was also involved in the tournament’s other big upset – being beaten by Portugal.
Now there’s nothing embarrassing about a close loss to the Portuguese if you’re playing soccer, but rugby? Yes, they do play rugby in Portugal, but that result will rank with the Sevens loss to Russia earlier this year and the 15s failure against Tonga in 1972 as low points in Australian rugby history.
It wasn’t the players’ fault – park this one in front of the ARU and RUPA – and they deserve great credit for bouncing back to defeat Fiji. For the record, Australia was then whipped by England 21-5 in the cup quarter final and fell 12-5 to Samoa in the plate semi. South Africa won the tournament by defeating NZ 31-12.
More distressing for the Wallabies and Reds is the Sunday Times story of Eddie Jones wanting to ditch Queensland to coach England for the next ten months. That’s Eddie Jones who has only just taken over the Reds reins.
What, with daylight saving and an early deadline today, I haven’t heard back from the QRU on this but, should the direct quotes be accurate, Jones has just marked himself as a goose by telling his team how little he cares for his new job and their hopes in 2007.
Queensland should know better than to think a New South Welshman could have the necessary passion and dedication for the job. Hire a Kiwi instead.