Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A Link To Something Funnier Than The Rolling Maul

In the sleepy months between Super 14 seasons, the Rolling Maul reverts to its lazy default status of sitting on the couch while other people talk and write about Rugby. Sure there are the occasional outbursts when the mood suits, but it would normally take an event the size of the Rugby World Cup to disturb the slumber.
That's not to say there isn't plenty to write about, such as why, now that the Wallabies have a Kiwi coach, they've adopted the peculiarly Kiwi habit of peaking three years before a World Cup while the Springboks take the reverse option and ensure their Rugby landscape is as flat as the high veldt (whatever that is - it sounds South African and distinctly lacking in peaks).

Or why Rugby, a sport played by men and women in hundreds of countries with a rich amateur heritage does not feature in the Olympics while synchronised swimming (men don't do it), race walking (no one should do it) and the triple jump (no adult should skip) does.

Not to mention the delicious irony of Rugby poaching League's finest (such as those that screw lifesavers in public toilets, scream obscenities down mobile phones when drunk, or grope the daughters of legends) and League crying poor.

No, it is moments like this when the Rolling Maul lets others do the talking, or perhaps is willing to stand upon the shoulders of ginats, whoever you prefer.

So here is something written by someone else. It's very amusing and very good. Damn good. Embarassingly good actually. Enjoy.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

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.