While the elbow patch crowd continues to rejoice in Saturday night’s last minute win over the Springboks, we at The Public Apology are not so impressed.
What’s wrong with the Wallabies, you ask? Didn’t they just beat the Springboks, one of world rugby’s greatest teams?
Sure, we won a game. But as usual, the victory was iced by a slick backline move – as opposed to good solid fundamentals. And that’s a concern.
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There is evidence to suggest that increased materialism and individualism – the defining qualities of many Western cultures, including Australia – is presenting many challenges to the general health of society. And this feckless individualism correlates directly to sport in 21st Century Australia.
A scrum, a line out, or a rolling maul for that matter, is nonetheless a cohesive entity. It requires a collective spirit; a socialist workmanlike approach, each player sacrificing for the greater good.
This is anathema to this individualist, capitalist hellhole which we now live in.
There simply isn’t a “forward culture” in Australia. No kid grows up wanting to be a tight-head prop, longing to anchor a scrum with technical precision. But I bet they do in South Africa. It’s a similar mindset in New Zealand, where every dad wants his child to play flanker (pronounced flenker) for the All Blacks.
But in Australia, we are all about slick backline moves and selfies. Our flyhalf must be a creative, explosive, excitement machine. He must have a cool haircut and an excellent rig. It also helps if he has an interesting name, like Quade or Kurtley.
It’s all part of the “me, me: now, now!” culture that we live in. As a friend said to me on the weekend, here in Australia, hard work and unity is being “eschewed for instant gratification and superficial material bullshit.”
The same can be said for the fucking Wallabies.
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Argentina, for example, may not possess the slick, headline-grabbing backline prowess of the Wallabies. But they will never be embarrassed in the forwards against the All Blacks and South Africa, despite their disadvantages.
While Argentina was seen as something of an emerging land of prosperity in the pre-war era, several revolutions took place during the mid-20th Century, which rocked the country’s development.
The constant back and forth from military coup-to-democracy-to-military coup certainly thwarted Argentina’s hope of advancing into an economic powerhouse; however, perhaps it imbued within the Argentinian man a sense of survival, a certain dignity, that we, happy-go-lucky, materialist, arrogant, Aussies, lack?
Argentina and Australia obviously have vastly different political and economic histories. But what about New Zealand? Why are they so dominant?
Our closest neighbour is, undeniably, the leading world power when it comes to rugby. On face value, there shouldn’t be such a great chasm between Australia and New Zealand, in regards to the way we play rugby.
Our cultures are somewhat similar; our economies are both doing quite well in the post-GFC era. New Zealanders also use social media and take selfies – and the dickhead-to-good bloke ratio is probably pretty similar to Australia’s. You’d think we’d play rugby in a similar manner – but, alas, we don’t.
The All Blacks are crisp and clinical with ball in hand. But it’s without the ball in hand where they truly excel.
The Wallabies need to understand that rugby is not all about possession. It’s about disrupting those in possession – and then cashing in on the chances when you do have the ball. As I just said, the All Blacks are fucking clinical. They take their chances. They’ll force a turnover through hard work and, before you know it, they’re over in the corner, while you’re still sulking over the shitty pass that Kurtley Beale chucked at your shoelaces.
But the Wallabies aren’t interested in hard work; in building sustained pressure and then seizing on a brief window of opportunity.
Australian rugby is more interested in one-night stands and Tinder; in busting a slick move on the DF and going home with the cute blonde, who he will never call back.
There is nothing romantic about Australian rugby.
By Dave Edwards