The Used Car Lot that is Australian Rugby

The state of Australian Rugby
Has it got a deal for you? 
There was some fantastic Rugby on display at the weekend. Snappy acceleration, outstanding handling under pressure, precise movements in the wet, grunt balanced by flair, innovation and invention, and power balanced by old-fashioned muscle.

Unfortunately the Australian Rugby motor vehicle was out of tune, spluttering and shuddering, belching clouds of smoke and screeching its wheels followed by that unmistakeable crunching noise that happens when reality collides with a brick wall. Welcome to Australian Rugby. At worst a car crash waiting to happen, at best a Kia pretending to be a V8 supercar.

The Waratahs
The potential is there - somewhere
The Waratahs have taken the Super out of Rugby, playing a brand of Rugby that is forever a work in progress and that roars, fizzes and spurts to a halt like a 1970s supercar that is showing its rust and down about two-thirds of its horsepower. It might need the NRMA for a jump start every now and then but if you look hard enough the potential is there, and given some new parts and a driver who knows what he's doing it could probably still burn off some flashier new models at the lights. For the moment though, a grease and oil change is about as good as we're gonna get.

The Rebels vs the Brumbies
The Rebels are an eclectic mix of international prestige and local starpower. As a motor they may be able to hum up Autobahns and motorways but at the end of the day you'd be embarrased to be seen in public with it. The Volvo V70. Under the bonnet it's as good as anything out there in its class but you wouldn't pick up your mother in it let alone a date. For starters it's a station wagon, over sized and kid friendly and all bulk where some finesse would work better. As a result it's feeling lost and unloved and really could do with a trade-in for something more, well, Australian.

The Queensland Reds -
thems were the days
No problem with the Reds there. As Australian as they come. Probably too Aussie actually. Had its time in lights briefly last year but now the big old V8 is being shown up for the gas-guzzling slowing-down dinosaur it really is. A Ford Falcon ute of course.

The Brumbies - A Nissan 350Z 2003 model
that's seen better days
The Brumbies meanwhile have emerged from a reconditioning and panel beating looking almost as good as ever. There's still some evidence of the major overhaul, a few dings left to iron out and some rust to cut out and it's not sounding as smooth as the glory days but given time to drive-in it's looking OK, especially compared to the other bombs in the lot. The Brumbies were at their peak 10 years ago, much like a Nissan 350Z, which is fitting considering the half-Japanese Eddie Jones was their coach at the time.

The Force - Mack truck subtlety

The Force are the semi-trailer of Australian Rugby. Slow to get moving and not very pretty. You wouldn't want one in the garage but fun to hop aboard every now and then. Whether it's worth the cost is debatable given the dead weight that needs to be carried but in a head-on it's probably a pretty safe bet to survive with minimal damage. But like the semi-trailer the Force can be difficult to pass adn make a lot of noise, but once you do get in front of them they quickly disappear.

So take your pick. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime bargain opportunity. These prices may not last but neither may the vehicles.