The Weight of Reality

Phew. That was close. There was a real danger for a while there that the Wallabies could prove to possess extreme team spirit and innate understanding thus leading to success at home and abroad. A forward pack operating like a well-oiled machine threatened to lay a platform for slick back line movements and sweeping length of the field eye candy.

Fortunately reality struck and struck hard in Auckland. The only thing well-oiled were the Wallabies' hands, how else to explain the fumbling and bumbling, while the only thing sweeping was the cleaner responsible for the cavernously empty trophy cabinet at the ARU.

Of course the burden for responsibility must rest with the coach. Hiring the second best coach in New Zealand, a coach not good enough for the New Zealand job, was always going to be risky when better credentialed Australian coaches were available. How many Grand Slams has Robbie Deans coached? None. But Alan Jones has coached one.

Admittedly no Australian team travels well and understandably so. Alcohol is ridiculously expensive in this country, and the opportunity for duty free booze and free alcohol on international flights is one that shouldn't be ignored. Still, Robbie Deans had ample time to prepare the Wallabies for their first overseas assignment since he took over. Alcoholics Anonymous only has 12 steps and at the rate of one a day each player could have done the course twice.

The big question is where to from here? Now that Robbie Deans has proven to be no more effective at coaching Australian Rugby teams to victory over understrength Northern Hemisphere teams than Eddie Jones or John Connolly, then surely the ARU is already scouting the world for the best possible replacement.

Perhaps super soccer coach Guus Hiddink is available. After all he's taken a number of underperforming World soccer teams to the quarter and semi-finals of the World Cup - and that is the kind of performance which the Wallabies of late (and the All Blacks for that matter) are quite familiar with.

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