How Cheika made Wallabies world rugby easybeats
It's time to explode the biggest myth in Australian rugby.
We hear it every time the Wallabies flop at the World Cup and the fans are sick of it.
Even after the most humiliating loss in World Cup history, the Wallabies' now ex-head coach Michael Cheika was at it again, spouting the same old rubbish that's made Australia easybeats for any rival team with half a brain.
"That is the way we play footy. I am not going to a kick-and-defend game," he said.
"Call me naive but that's not what I am doing. I would rather win playing our way, that's the way Aussies want us to play."
Ok then, Michael, 'you're naïve'.
And you're completely out of touch with what Aussie fans want.
The clueless tactics that the Wallabies have been trying to play for years is not the way Aussies want the team to play.
What Aussies really want to see is a team that wins and the Wallabies won't start winning again until they play smarter rugby.
Remember the last Wallaby team that won the World Cup?
That's the team that beat South Africa in the semi-finals with a field goal and gave up only one try in the entire tournament.
That's the team that played a simple, mistake free pick and drive game, and won Bledisloe Cups with last minute penalties.
Well, every time that team played, the stadiums were packed, the television ratings went through the roof and they were the pride of the nation.
Take a look at the empty stands now and listen to the groans that fans are making at the stupidity of what they're seeing.
Trying to run the ball out from your own line instead of just booting the ball to halfway isn't brave or smart. Nor is trying to chip the ball inside your own 22. Or throwing wild cut out passes that end up being intercepted or floating into touch.
That's why the Wallabies have fallen so far down the world rankings and our biggest rivals are laughing in our faces.
Eddie Jones played Cheika for a fool this week when he kept telling the press how worried he was about Australia's "unpredictable" running game, repeating the same phrase over and over that it was "very clever".
It was obvious to everyone what Jones was playing at but Cheika fell for the flattery and played right into England's hands.
Perpetuating the myth that the Wallabies use those tactics because that's how Australians want them to play isn't just wrong, it's an insult to everyone who loves the team, and plenty still do.
Thousands of Aussies have spent their hard earned savings travelling all the way to Japan to watch them play.
And not just the rich city folk. There were battlers from the bush too, people from all walks of life.
Some came with mates, some came alone, others came with their husbands, their wives and their kids, but all left disappointed by a coach that wouldn't listen to them.
WALLABIES COACHING CONTENDERS
If there's one lesson Rugby Australia's under fire administrators should take from Michael Cheika's tenure, it's that it's always wise to have a Plan B and even a Plan C.
If New Zealand's Dave Rennie really is the best man for the job, then he should get it, but RA doesn't need to rush into a decision and the signs are they won't.
"We have been doing a lot of work to make sure we understood from a market perspective who we think the right coaches could be for Rugby Australia and who might be available," RA chief executive Raelene Castle said.
"That work has been done and continues to be done and so that will be part of the review process."
If RA wants some idea, they don't need to look far beyond the tournament the Wallabies just bombed out of.
The one thing this World Cup has shown is that there's plenty of smart coaches around, so RA's top brass should be speaking to every single one of them before they get fly home.
This includes Eddie Jones, who might have left Australia under bad circumstances last time and have a better paid contract with England, but he's still one of ours and is as sharp as a tack.
When asked about Jones, Castle didn't rule him out even if he's not on everyone's Christmas shopping list.
"I understand he is contracted (with England, beyond the World Cup," she said.
"We've done the work on different names, different understandings. We've got a list of people and we know who we will be talking to."
Let's hope Joe Schmidt's one of them. The Kiwi has done an amazing job with Ireland and although he insists he's not interested in any coaching jobs, we've heard that from plenty of others before.
And how about Japan's coach Jamie Joseph? What a job he's done with the Brave Blossoms and which Australian wouldn't want to see the Wallabies play that way.
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