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Billy Sheehan (19)
Knowing your place

August 30, 2012 - 5:23PM


No, you're not Superman. He wears black.
Does anybody else get a chuckle out the constant teeth-gnashing by the rugby union fraternity, as they kid themselves there's actually something wrong with the world order of that sport when Australia is losing?
Suffering, in large part, is worrying about things you cannot change. It's pointless me spending hours in front of the mirror wishing I looked like Brad Pitt or could surf like Kelly Slater because ... it's never gonna happen.
Such is the case with Australian rugby.
We are an average rugby nation, always have been, and we should recognise and accept our place in the pecking order - just like Zimbabwe and New Zealand do in cricket* - so fans and commentators can stop beating up the team over unreasonable expectations.
Of the 145 times a Bledisoe Cup match has been played, New Zealand have won 99 times, Australia 41, with five draws. Overall, the Kiwis have won the cup 40 times, Australia just 12.
Since 2003, New Zealand have won the Bledisoe 10 times in a row. The best we ever did was five in a row from 1998–2002.
However, New Zealand's dominance is nothing new. They convincingly won the first Test between our countries 22-3 in 1903, then won the next three until we got on the board with a draw in 1907.
It wasn't until 1910 we got our first win against them (11-0), then lost the next six out of seven.
The Kiwis' best run against us was 28 years straight between 1951 and 1978, when they won 12 Bledisoe titles in a row.
Yet, we kid ourselves this is a battle between equals? That every Wallabies side that follows the grand and ancient tradition of getting their arses handed to them by New Zealand is an aberration?
Correct me if I'm wrong but Australia's golden age of dominance in the late '90s, early '00s followed soon after the sport went professional in 1995.
At that time, we had two existing professional football codes in the country - VFL, now AFL and ARL, now NRL - so it's fair to say union was able quickly to adopt practices that were already in place - they had a template to follow, one which union in both New Zealand and South Africa did not have.
We capitalised on this advantage, but soon other nations caught up.
Now that the coaching, training, rehab, nutrition playing field is even again we have to rely on two things - talent and hunger - both of which I'd argue we lack.
As has been noted a bazillion times before, Australia's talent pool is stretched across four football codes, while in New Zealand it's two - and even that's arguable; the country lives and breathes rugby.
However, our teams are populated by former private schoolboys who, dare I say it, are little less desperate to tear the world a new orifice than say, a boiler-maker's son from Invercargill.
Our rugby community is like a 45-year-old, fat, bald guy who pulled five beautiful women in his early 20s and can't accept that's the best he'll ever do.
A football code, like a man, needs to know its limitations.
(*Fittingly, Australia is probably as good at rugby as New Zealand is at cricket).
Sam de Brito's latest novel Hello Darkness is in bookstores now. You can follow him on Twitter here. His email address is here.

Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/executive-style/culture/blogs/all-men-are-liars/knowing-your-place-20120826-24tyx.html#ixzz251LLzYjO

Response please. . . :oops:


Larry Dwyer (12)
Sam's writing is shallow at the best of times. I met him when he had a crack at working in television. He invents words like "bazillion".

'Nuff said.


Greg Davis (50)
The problem still stands, when you read those stats, Australia is an underdog & I may not be an old timer just yet but growing up Australian underdogs always rose to a challenge and gave it there all. I don't mind if New Zealand do something great to win a game. I object to new Zealand not having to do something great to win. See the 2nd test against Ireland as a template. When NZ leave th field against us win lose or draw, they should be bleeding, Bruised and suffering for breath.Australian Rugby needs to embrace the underdog and come out fighting.


i feel sorry for people like this who are willing to accept mediocrity...

He also tellingly left out the part of how we also had 'glory' periods prior to the advent of professionalism as well, that was also in the face of 2 other codes which were already professional... Go shove the thinking of Australia doesnt have the talent out the window, we have the players, we have the coaches, we just have a misaligned development and coaching stream at the moment.

Inside Shoulder

Nathan Sharpe (72)
i feel sorry for people like this who are willing to accept mediocrity.

He also tellingly left out the part of how we also had 'glory' periods prior to the advent of professionalism as well, that was also in the face of 2 other codes which were already professional. Go shove the thinking of Australia doesnt have the talent out the window, we have the players, we have the coaches, we just have a misaligned development and coaching stream at the moment.
and since...1999, even 2003.
It's not like we can change nationalities cos we're having a lean trot.
And this is the game they play in heaven so we can't change codes either.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk


Peter Fenwicke (45)
I'm not sure this is much worth responding to but he does conveniently ignore anything other than our rivalry with NZ. I think the NZ cricket team would probably be pretty fucking stoked with being no.2 in the world a lot of the time...


Nick Farr-Jones (63)
Dead right Teach. The comparison is more than a bit insulting (with the greatest respect to NZ cricket). The Wallabies have been at least in the top three rugby nations for 20 years or more. Really, ever since AJ's team won the Grand Slam and then beat the AB's in NZ we've been there or there abouts and scaled the summit a few times to boot. We're not some minnow nation. The fact that we've maintained a good record even after the Boks came back into the fold is meritorious I think.

This bloke De Brito wouldn't know rugby if it bit him in the arse.


Billy Sheehan (19)
Start rant :-

The passage of play required to rebuild the Wobs is

1 Get rid of JON. I don't care what you say, rugby is not a business, it is a way of life. It's like saying that we have to privatise electricity because it will be cheaper and more efficient. Can anybody point to a single instance when electricity costs have down once it has been privatised. I want an Independant Commission to run our game, not some wanker whose only consideration is money. Go to Echo and play your money games, just leave rugby alone.

2 Appoint a DECENT coach. Be it Link or be it somebody else, four years of mediocrity equals worse than nothing. It is four years of going slowly backwards. I want acoach that is not prepared to put up with pathetic performances and pathethic behaviour.

3 Bring in a third tier. If you really want to do it IT CAN BE DONE!

4 Clean out the ARU. Point one, an Independant Commision, not some grandstanding old school pricks that only care about their own agrandisement (apologies to the people on the board that do try to make a difference, but obviously it's not working).

5 Aspire! Set your sights higher. I want administrators that believe we can be No 1. Not this bullshit that the ABs can't be beaten.

Australian Rugby is currently an embarrassement.

Gert rid of the "Business Model"and bring OUR game back to its roots!

End of rant :(


John Thornett (49)
And yet he is a successful columnist and author. Which means people read his crap. Which means, as always, there are a lot of stupid people out there.


Billy Sheehan (19)
Despite the way it was delivered his overall message is valid.

Our record against the Darkness leaves a lot to be desired.

Don't shoot the messanger


Sydney Middleton (9)
I don't agree with or like what he is saying, but it s his opinion. If I was Robbie I would have been praying for arrogance like this to emerge so I could build against it. Talking to some squad members, hating the All Blacks is not in Robbie's DNA. I have been reserved on whether he needs to go, and also reserved on whether Link is hard enough to rise to the challenge, but right now I am convinced that we need someone who respectfully hates Kiwis and wants them to not only lose but be stripped of the very substance of their national pride. Link has done it as a player and he is the only person on the radar who nudist ands what it takes to achieve dominance against some very big fish in an extremely small pond.


Dave Cowper (27)
This article is BS.

The Wallabies were the first team to win two RWC's. Nobody else has won more. Unlike NZ or SA, we won them both on foreign soil, and has anyone contested more three RWC finals Wallabies? No.

The Wallabies are an elite side and have a winning tradition in the professional era. Once we could apply ourselves in the gym as rigorously as others, we no longer would be out-muscled by the more naturally physical NZ farmers for example of the amateur era, and still apply our "smart" game with innovative tactics.

The Wallabies are winners. This defeatist attitude gives me the shits.


Dave Cowper (27)
Obviously this thread is a trollers paradise, but I shall do my best to refrain.

I think there is a lot of sense to what the guy is saying. His point is not so much that the Wallabies can't have good stretches where they beat the best in the world regularly. Rather it is that these stretches have been the exception rather than the norm. He is saying that you shouldn't think the world is over when you lose to the best team in the world.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth that has occurred should wait until the full results of the RC put these results into perspective. If the AB's put big scores on both SA and ARG, and the Wallabies win their last 4 games, then I think there would be plenty of reason to think hold off on the despair.

I fear I have been unable to avoid a touch of trolling, but I did my best.