Arrogant Aussies Have Become a Bunch of Cry Babies
The Australians, and to a much lesser extent the New Zealanders, have become very critical of the World Champion Springboks and the way they are winning.
Both Robbie Deans, coach of Australia, and Graham Henry, coach of the All Blacks, have vented criticism at the rules, and the intentions of the Springboks.
Robbie Deans has even gone so far to say the Springboks "essentially won the World Cup without even playing."
It all smacks of grand hypocrisy to me. The match between the Wallabies and the All Blacks in Sydney, played between two supposed exponents of the "running game", produced a single try.
Greg Martin started the post-match interview asking Richie McCaw if he "enjoyed the return to running rugby."
Clearly we reside on different planets! I saw much the same tactics I've seen in all the Tri-nations games this year, with an emphasis on kicking to gain field position.
Regardless of the tactics, I'd suggest the Aussies and Kiwis would be better off looking at themselves, rather than external factors.
The Australians' Ashes series defeat highlighted how arrogant a nation the Australians are, as they blamed the pitch for their defeat.
The current rules have largely been in place for some years now. The ELVs were meant to encourage greater running rugby, but simply encouraged more kicking, and less consequences for negative play.
The rules as they are, are not to blame for the way the game is played. They encourage a return to rugby fundamentals, an emphasis on set-pieces, physicality and being direct.
Much of the way the game is played is determined by attitude. If you want to kick often, you will. If you want to play running rugby, you need to ensure your forward pack allows you to do so.
In short, you need to look at your side, your strengths and weaknesses, and determine what pattern suits you best.
I suspect both the Australians and New Zealanders are frustrated because they are getting smashed in the forwards. Their packs aren't dominating (especially tough for the All Blacks who have traditionally dominated this area for so long), and therefore they are unable to play the game they way they'd like.
The Springboks, meanwhile, are dominating territory and possession and can dictate terms at the moment.
I've been impressed by Springbok coach Peter de Villiers as he has identified the strengths of the Springboks and is ensuring they play to a pattern that is hard to counter. As he has mentioned, his first responsibility is to the South African public, and then to producing entertainment.
There is no reason why the Boks have to play more entertaining rugby. They are playing within the laws of the game, and the challenge is to other sides to find a way to stop them. The statements from the Aussies are a smokescreen to try and unsettle the Boks.
After all, is Rafael Nadal negative because he plays from the baseline and doesn't serve and volley? Is Tiger Woods negative because he can hit the ball so far and gain an advantage over other golfers? Is cricket on the sub-continent wrong to produce pitches to favour the home sides?
Those in South Africa are enjoying this rugby season. I'd suggest the Kiwis and Aussies stop whining, and get on with trying to find a solution to the Springbok's dominance.
If they don't, they'd better get used to coming up with excuses.
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