An All Blacks victory has become the norm in the Trans Tasman derby – the All Blacks humiliated the Wallabies in Australia in front of their own fans. Many people in the Australian rugby community are calling for the axe to do its thing in regards to Australia coach Michael Cheika and his back room staff after what seems to have become a habit of mediocrity from the rugby power house nation.
Despite reaching the Rugby world cup final in 2015, It’s been 16 years since the Wallabies lifted the Bledisloe cup and have now lost two June series on their own home turf in recent years; a 3-0 white wash by England in 2016 and a 2-1 comeback by the Irish earlier this year, on top of what is a slightly above 50% win percentage that has seen the Aussies drop to 5th in the World cup rankings.
The signs don’t show any improvement in the team while the rest of the world seems to be making progress in what is a build up to the rugby world cup in Japan next year.
Veteran Australian scribe Greg Growden has echoed what many have been saying, that Michael Cheika’s time is up as he has nothing to add to the team with just over a year to the 15’s World cup in Japan. He said, ” …… if Rugby Australia is serious about a productive Rugby World cup campaign as well as regaining the faith of thousands of disenchanted Wallabies supporters, they must get rid of Cheika and all of his back room staff now.” according to ESPN.
The same thought has been portrayed across various media platforms with opinion polls where fans have voted for his sacking along with his staff. Much as this might seem harsh, the Wallabies’ performances have not been up to par with normally expected standards – their most recent display in Sidney against the All Blacks doesn’t do them any favours as well. The Wallabies seemed comfortable with defending a 6-0 lead against the best team in the world, they had a horrid time at the line out losing more than half of their own throws as if Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock of the All Blacks have been a part of their training.
Making it worse, the team seems to be in very bad shape as regards fitness, the Wallabies looked exhausted by the 55th minute which was the beginning of the end for them in the game that ended 13-38 to the visitors – either they over trained or are in a very bad state of fitness.
In all honesty, when a team finds itself at the same level for years without improving or transitioning, down is the only way it will go. Many fans in Australia have given up on the rugby union code and have sought solace in other sports such as cricket and rugby league with sponsors also giving the latter higher priority.
Could the problem be bigger than Cheika
While the world chooses to point fingers at Michael Cheika for what is an unacceptable performance by the lofty Australian standards, with many saying that the players aren’t responding to Cheika’s fire and brimstone antics anymore.
The problem could actually be bigger than Cheika, Australian rugby provincial sides have taken a massive dip in form in the past few years with very embarrassing stats against Kiwi sides and their qualification for the play offs in general. So the issue might be bigger than what meets the eye with Cheika being a mere scapegoat in the matter.
The ARU decided to cut the Western force in a bid to have a deeper player base for the other Super rugby franchises but all seems to be the same despite the Waratahs qualifying for the play offs from a very poor Aussie conference as leaders although having points that would otherwise not see them make the cut.
Well, this is a risky call at a very delicate time for the ARU who have to make a choice going into Japan 2019; rebuilding with a new coach where time is against him or sticking with something that clearly isn’t working – Your guess is as good as mine but one thing is for sure; the next few games will either pile up the firewood and increase the heat or cool the situation. First up, a visit to New Zealand this weekend, not the ideal place for a resurgence though.