Merry Christmas Mr O'Neill

Santa visited John O’Neill early this year and it is no surprise. Little Johnny has been whispering in his ear since before the World Cup and if he hadn’t delivered Robbie Deans there would have been a tantrum loud enough to be heard across the Tasman.

But like all Christmas presents little Johnny needs to understand that a pet such as Robbie Deans is not just for Christmas but for life (life in Rugby being equivalent to one Rugby World Cup cycle). Too many children get over the novelty of their new presents well before their use-by dates so that the child's major stakeholders (Mum and Dad) who ultimately control the household finances, adopt out the pet to a rich relative living in Japan or even worse the animal hospital in Italy.

Fortunately Robbie Deans is less of a pet and more of a Cabbage Patch kid (and this analogy has nothing to do with the ears of Rugby forwards). He comes from that great Rugby nursery that is New Zealand, although admittedly Cabbage Patch kids, like All Blacks Rugby, were probably at their most popular and most successful (in terms of World Cups) in the late 1980s.

To stretch the analogy even thinner, every Cabbage Patch coach from New Zealand comes with his (are any Rugby coaches female? – a topic for another posting perhaps) own identity. Deans is considered to be fairly cuddly as far as Cabbage Patch coaches are concerned and especially compared to Graham Henry who by reputation and in public comes across as having been left out on the porch during a thunderstorm or two before being chewed by the dog and buried in the backyard over winter.

Robbie Deans’ value to the Wallabies will certainly not be as a mascot – they already have one of those and it did Berrick Barnes no favours during the World Cup – not on the field anyway. In order to earn the respect of the Wallabies the Cabbage Patch Robbie Deans will need to ingratiate himself with the new kids (Holmes, Turner, Beale, Barnes etc) and spend lots of time playing with them. The older kids may be too set in their ways to accept a new and different type of toy, and if that proves to be the case then they may need to be told to find their own sandpit.

How Robbie Deans integrates the older kids with the newer kids will be crucial to ensuring that everyone plays successfully together. Certainly Little Johnny realised that some of the older kids with their older toys needed a good whack around the ears to get them into shape. Whether Robbie Deans is man, err toy, enough to do this only time will tell. Certainly Little Johnny is just hoping that the novelty value of his present doesn’t wear out.


Still Last said…
Now that we have a competant but somewhat expensive coach we will need to save money. Can I suggest some cost saving iniatives that could be effective immediately without anyone noticing
1) The Aust Rugby Championship
2) Lote