14. Fourteen. That is how many Bledisloe Cup titles the All Blacks have won in a row. 15 looks a certainty. As mentioned many times before the Wallabies are playing the game in much the same manner as the managerial structure. From the turmoil at the top to a coach who can’t get discipline among his players has no chance.
That is no slight on the quality of the ABs. Every one of the players in that side carries the pride of a nation. Sure it is a religion in NZ but there is a sense of purpose. We know how much a loss to the Wallabies accounts for a national day of mourning. The biggest defining factor is that were the Bledisloe Cup an amateur tournament like it used to be one would guess all the AB players would still represent.
However the Wallabies are never going to properly challenge the ABs unless they adopt a mentality of representing as amateurs. In fact if I had my way, the first question would be that – would you represent your country for the love of it? One would weed out the problems pretty quick. Of course many would argue that without fat paychecques the team would quickly hollow out. Maybe. However as a fan I’d much rather see my team lose with heart than the appalling display that has been a feature of the team for so long.
Perhaps the Japanese are the best example of a team that through great coaching transformed. In the 2015 World Cup the Springboks went into that game thinking it was a formality. As we know the Boks lost and put Japan’s rugby team in a whole new light. From the laughing stock of world rugby to a credible team. Eddie Jones proved his worth as he is now doing for the Poms.
The Wallabies lack leadership from top to bottom. We could analyze missed tackle stats till the cows come home but there is every reason to think that the problem is mental not physical. As pointed out many times, even in the line up some Wallabies players have socks around their ankles. Sure presentation might not mean much in terms of player quality but the military spec All Blacks are tidier than a marine’s bunk. When facing off even little details can make a huge difference in the way the opposition perceives its enemy.
The sooner changes are made at the top, the sooner the mental aspects of the game can improve. Maybe then these amateurs might be able to play like the professionals their grossly inflated salaries would signal