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Aisle Be Back: Bledisloe One

Club Rugby | 25 August 2016 | Kevin McCarthy

Aisle Be Back: Bledisloe One

It takes some doing, but on Saturday night, I felt genuinely sorry for the Wallabies.  If this had been a boxing match, they would have called it off in the 4th round, just to stop something - like Wallabies rugby - dying.

As it was, they survived the second 40, probably because there was no provision to give the entire team a concussion test at halftime.

That was a devilishly good All Black first 40, that no tier-one opponent could have stuck with. But then you have to say the Wallabies are starting to cling on to that status by their fingernails.

Which is very sad, because a lot of people will have grown up with the Bled as the ultimate test for the All Blacks. Remember those years when the Wallabies were, in all honesty, our betters? When we were the ones searching for answers, angsting that the balance of power had tilted across the Tasman. I mean, rugby was meant to be OUR thing and now we were losing that.

Sometime, someone might sit down and chart where the respective paths diverged again, to where we sit today. They might even come up with some plausible reasons.

You could argue that New Zealand rugby would always bounce back because of its grassroots strength, while the Aussies could only string together a purple decade that was always going to fade.

Yet it feels as much about the running of the game, administratively and how the golden era has been squandered. Which is damned ironic, if you think back to 2003 and the World Cup co-hosting debacle. We couldn't even win the battle of the fish-heads in those days.

So perhaps, before we get too full of our pomp, we could think about how a dishevelled Australian rugby scene does us no favours at all in the long-run.  We wouldn't want to go losing to them too much, but any rugby culture that could produce Campese, Larkham and Eales is worth keeping alive.

So what will it be Aussies? What can we do for you, cobbers?

RLM

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If you get a chance, head over and read a couple of entertaining Spiro Zavos columns on The Roar website.

The well-regarded veteran rugby writer has gotten under the skin of the so-called Giteau Law players, the quintet called back from their retirement villages in France, to bolster the Wallabies squad.

You'd have to agree. If Will Genia is your first choice pick after he hasn't played for six months, then what horrible thing does that say about the present and future.

But the revealing thing is that the targeted players could be bothered firing off tweets left right and centre to defend themselves.  As if one rugby scribe's opinion should matter to them one iota.

I doubt it would happen here in the twittersphere. Which kind of shows you the headspace of Wallabies rugby. It's been that way for too long.

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Anthony Leinert-Brown is our new All Blacks second-five. Always fascinating to see how the new caps take to the environment, but these days it seems that it doesn’t create too much of a hiccup.

Israel Dagg on the wing is the other interesting point. It seems that the backline is very comfortable with reconfiguring itself, as we saw last week in Sydney when Crotty went off.

It’s obviously something the team work on, and another strength that seems to set the All Blacks apart.

As for the Aussies, if Quade Cooper is named to start, can anyone thinking of booing him, please give it a rest.

The bloke's done his time. Booing him is boorish and embarrassing fan behaviour. 

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What a promising start for the Lions and fingers crossed they can go 2-nil up at Dunedin tonight.

The comp is a bit of a dash compared to the marathon of Super rugby, so keeping up a winning habit is important.

The side tonight will welcome in Brad Shields - as skipper - and Vaea Fifita from the Canes. Let’s hope they’re raring to go. 

Lifelong All Blacks supporter Kev has followed the Hurricanes since they began. He has a season pass. Every year he predicts the Canes will win Super Rugby and this year he was proved right.

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