The Rogues Rant #285

Welcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

By Ron Wood

How to describe the Wallabies performance last week in Perth? Disappointing isn’t strong enough, perhaps embarrassing is more appropriate. On their latest performances it looks that the Wallabies may well soon slip out of the top 10 in the International ratings by the end of this season. With the remaining Rugby Championship matches and then the Northern Tour to go with matches against Scotland, England and Wales the Aussie side will need to improve considerably to avoid being classed as amongst the also ran Countries come the end of 2021.  

The recall of 38 year old Greg Holmes to the Wallaby squad perhaps suggests that coach Dave Rennie is becoming perplexed with the skill level coming through the Rugby Australia system. I’ve been banging on about this for some time but every time the Wallabies play things just don’t seem to be getting any better in respect of the sides competitiveness against the top teams. The demise of Australian Rugby has been evident to many people over the past ten years or more and it is going to be a long time before we return to the top of the International Ratings if ever again.

The Referees last week in Perth had no option but to send Jordie Barrett off given the current Match Guidelines in respect to head contact. The new twenty minute rule is very warranted as we saw last week and confirmed by the decision of the International Judiciary who cleared Barrett from the send-off. I reckon that Rugby is handling this whole Head Injury question far better than other football codes and the current policies should remain in their current form.          

It was Interesting to notice in the media this week that local Surf Clubs are having trouble attracting new members to the Lifesaving movement. Rugby is not the only sporting body experiencing a downturn in numbers these days which suggests that the downturn is a community and social problem rather than a particular problem for individual sports. I reckon the downturn in participation numbers across many sports is definitely a social issue, with the big question of the Work / Life balance a significant factor in modern Australian society. One reader this week suggested that Illawarra Rugby should be aiming to have a competition consisting of four Grades plus Colts but the reality is it will be a long time into the future before we have a population base in our area that will support a competition of this size. Everyone needs to look outside the square going forward if club Rugby as we know it is going to survive in our area let alone grow to that level.  

All opinions offered in this column are the opinion of the author. They should not be considered to represent the views of the IDRU.