Back To Reality For The WallaTahs

Like disgruntled employees filing back into the office after a month off work on a tropical island, enjoying cocktails served with small paper umbrellas while lazing in lagoon-sized swimming pools, the Waratahs' contingent of Wallabies (and that's most of them) are going to struggle for motivation.
For one thing, how does the Wallaby contingent deal with the handful of Waratahs players that weren't selected for the national team, including all the recently axed Wallabies; a dumped captain (Rocky Elsom), long term second rower (Dean Mumm) and injured wingers (Drew Mitchell, Lachlan Turner)?

For all the psychobabble associated with professional sportspeople in the modern age, jealousy does exist and there are rivalries for Wallabies spots between Waratahs. You'd hope that competition for those spots would bring out the best in the players but it hasn't happened that way so far this season.

Indeed the irony of all this is that a current ideal Waratahs line-up would include only one or possibly two non-Wallabies (current and former); the halfbacks Sarel Pretorious (a South African so he doesn't count) and Brendon McKibbin and Tom Carter though he's been starting from the bench lately and seems cheerfully resigned to his lot in life. There's also Bernard Foley though he was in the Wallabies' most recent squad.

That these players flounder in blue but shine in gold suggests something as simple as a fashion statement may be responsible for their lack of cohesion, their tactical ineptness and their inability to complete simple Rugby tasks. Alas, it's not what's on their backs but in their heads that it is the most likely problem.

Coach Michael Foley will perhaps have the greatest task of trying to motivate the troops for one last pointless exercise prior to the vast bulk of his team disappearing for a well earned-break during the finals before the international season proper (The Rugby Championship) begins. If ever there was a chance to experiment, to bring in new blood, take a few chances and have some fun, then this should be it.

But alas that doesn't seem to be the Waratahs way. After this weekend's bye, the Waratahs will have had five weeks to consider fronting up for their last two matches. You'd like to think they'll throw the ball around and try to razzle dazzle 'em and at least provide some value to the handful of supporters who turn up to watch them.

The Waratahs may have only pride to play for, but it probably won't be enough.